This year marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment passing in Congress. However, I’ve learned that in order for an amendment to be official and enforceable, it must be voted on and approved by the legislatures of the individual states as well. If three-fourths of them do not pass that amendment, then the amendment isn’t officially part of the Constitution.
While it’s true that the 19th amendment celebrated its 100th birthday this year, it wasn’t actually until August 26, 1920 — 99 years ago today — that it was officially included in the Constitution. That means more than a year went by as the amendment went to individual states for a vote. Some states supported the amendment right away. Others directly opposed it. In the end, it all came down to one vote that determined the fate of women’s rights across the nation.
That one vote belonged to a young Tennessee legislator who needed to break the tie of 48 for and 48 against the new amendment. Personally, he was opposed to the amendment. But, his mother gave him an extra nudge and helped tip the scales in favor of the 19th amendment.
As I reflect on this footnote in history, I marvel at the simple yet powerful things that led up to the miraculous. Imagine if that young legislator had just laughed at his mom and disregarded her? I have to admit, looking at how my children ignore me sometimes, I wonder what my own children would do. Do I have the kind of trust and relationship that existed between this mother and son?
Today, I celebrate the little things, the single vote that can tip the scales. I celebrate mothers who struggle to get their kids to school. I celebrate every parents’ effort to provide their family with love and support. I celebrate each of us, doing our seemingly insignificant part to make the world a better place.