August 18 marked the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. On that day 100 years ago, Tennessee became the 36th State in the Union to ratify the 19th Amendment, officially pushing the proposition over the two-thirds threshold needed to make the amendment law. The amendment was championed as “granting the women the right to vote.” This phrasing, however, would have been rejected by the original trailblazers of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
When individuals declare that women were “granted” the right to vote, it implies that a person’s rights are not inherent, but rather provided by a government. This is a glaring misrepresentation of the true intention and original purpose of government. As the Declaration states, governments are formed to secure the rights of citizens, it is not the body that creates certain rights for groups. For figures such as Susan B. Anthony, the 19th Amendment is not an amendment which grants suffrage, but rather recognizes the existence of this right and proclaims the government shall never again deny this right to any citizen on the basis of sex.
This is perhaps the true reason to remember and celebrate the heroic individuals of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. When the United States declared its independence in 1776, the American revolutionaries put forth an idea, a novel philosophy that stated the equality of man and the undeniability of freedom and liberty.
Logan Paul Rex, Wapakoneta