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Massachusetts Debates a Woman’s Right to Vote

19th Amendment & the Aftermath

Passing the 19th Amendment, which prohibited states from barring voters based on sex, was a monumental victory. Massachusetts ratified the amendment on June 25, 1919. The final state ratified the measure the following year, and women voted in the 1920 presidential election.

The 19th Amendment granted the ballot to more Americans than any previous law, but it did not guarantee the vote for all women. The coalition that fought for suffrage collapsed almost as soon as the amendment passed. The literacy tests and violence that prevented black men from voting in the South kept black women from the polls until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Other groups were also restricted. Native Americans gained some voting rights through the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, while immigrants of Asian descent gained some voting rights when the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943.