JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 2122JEANETTE RANKIN ELECTED TO CONGRESS A CENTURY AGO TODAY
Helena, Montana (JFK+50) On the eve of an election in which a woman may win the presidency for the first time, 100 years ago today, November 7, 1916, Jeannette Rankin* became the first woman to be elected to the Congress of the United States.
In 1917, Congresswoman Rankin, a pacifist**, voted against U.S. entry into World War I. Miss Rankin's anti-war vote caused her to not seek re-election to the Congress in 1918, but she did make an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate. After more than 20 years of being an outspoken proponent of world peace, Miss Rankin won re-election to the US Congress in 1940.
Once again she had the opportunity to vote on a war resolution. This one in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She would once again vote NO. Fellow legislators attempted to influence her to abstain so the war resolution could be unanimous. She refused.
The Congresswoman said...
"As a woman I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else."
Although best known for casting the anti-war vote, Miss Rankin preferred to be remembered as "the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote."
*Jeannette Pickering Rankin (1880-1973) was born in Missoula, Montana. She earned a BS in Biology at the University of Montana & later became a social worker in San Francisco.
JPR helped organize the New York Women's Suffrage Party & was a lobbyist for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She led an anti-war march in 1968 in Washington, D.C.
JPR died at the age of 92 in Carmel, CA.
**Pacifist is defined as a person who believes war & violence are unjustifiable. The word is credited to Emile Arnaud of France. It was adopted by peace activists at the Universal Peace Conference in 1901.
Jeannette Rankin, United States Senate, www.senate.gov/