“I may be the first woman member of Congress but I won’t be the last.”
Hello and happy Fourth day of Women’s History Month, aka WHM 4, 2014.
Today we celebrate the anniversary of the first woman elected to the United States Congress. She was Jeannette Rankin, who represented her native Montana. from 1917 to 1919.
(Hey, MAD lived in Montana, but a few years later. Otherwise, she was sure to get his vote, because Jeannette, even though she ran on the Republican ticket, represents his pacifist views on war.)
Winning a seat in the U.S Congress in 1916 was no small feat, as women nationwide, still had not won the right to vote. That would not come until 1920.
How did she get a jump start? Thanks to Jeannette’s tireless suffragette efforts in Washington and Montana, women in those states won the right to vote in 1911 and 1914 respectively. She was also instrumental in passing the 19th Amendment, which we all know is the “Votes for Women” campaign.
Jeannette also made history as a pacifist. She was the sole member of Congress to vote against U.S declaring war on Germany in 1917. Elected to Congress again and serving from 1941 to 1943, Jeannette cast, once again, the sole nay House vote against entering World War 2. The bombings on Pearl Harbor did not deter her pacifism. Staying true to her beliefs, Jeannette led the Jeannette Rankin Brigade in 1968 to advocate against the Vietnam War and actions in Korea.
Rankin died in Carmel, California (one of my pub’s favorite places) in 1973. If history is any indicator, we have a good idea of where she’d stand on today’s war.
Enjoy the fourth day of Women’s History Month and don’t forget, International Women’s Day is Saturday, March 8. Get your cards out now if you’re snail mailing them. Check out this site, if you’re emailing them: http://act.oxfamamerica.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1261