Early 1900s |

The First Congresswoman Is Elected - 11/7/1916

Today in 1916, Jeannette was elected as a legislature to the U.S. House of Representatives. Making her the first woman ever in history of United States of America to won a seat at the congress.

Jeannette Rankin was born and bred on a farm close to Missoula, Montana. Born of liberal parents, they urged her at a tender age to think past the limited chances, which was allowed to women of the mid twentieth century. Years later, she graduated from the University of Montana and the New York School of Philanthropy, after working as a social worker for a short period, she later became actively involved in politics to fight for women's right to vote and be voted for.

Her endeavors took her back home to Montana in 1914, where she trusted pioneer conditions had made prominent admiration for women's work and talent, making it to an extent simpler to persuade men to allow them the privilege to vote. In addition, some western states like Wyoming and Colorado had officially endorsed women's' right to vote years prior to that, with Rankin's leadership and authoritative skills the state of Montana was able to join them in 1914.

Now that women's right to vote had been secured, Rankin had to test the waters of her political strength in Montana by contesting in 1916, for one of the two seats in Congress as a Progressive Republican. Her courage and ability to stand out among others helped her in securing the support of the women and men alike. In the end, Rankin turned out to be the first woman in history to be elected into Congress.

Moving to Washington, D.C. the following year, all eyes was on her to check whether a woman could deal with the duties of the high office. Rankin soon demonstrated she could; in fact, she likewise exhibited that she would not go against her own strongly held belief in political pragmatism. A committed pacifist, Rankin's first vote as a U.S. congresswoman was against U.S. entry into World War I. As she was being celebrated for her brave stand, yet others asserted her vote demonstrated that ladies were unequipped for boring the heavily laid burdens accustomed with national leadership, even though 55 congressmen had likewise voted against the war.

Unfortunately, her vote against World War 1 did not favor her reelection bid in 1918. This made her to dedicate the next 20 years of life to peace work. Unexpectedly, she again won a seat in the U.S. Congress in 1940, at the time the country was going to World War II. Right after the bombarding of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Rankin turned out to be the only legislature in the history of Congress to vote against U.S. going into both world wars. However, she was the only one who voted against the war this time around.

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Kelly Sutherland


Hi! I'm Kelly. My favorite time period was the 70s. I had a boatloads of fun traveling around with my close friends spreading love and just living my life to the fullest... if you know what I mean ;) Now I enjoy sitting in my cozy nook writing and learning about history.