On Account of Sex (1920)


Thursday, October 1, 2020, 4:00pm


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard—Online

The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 did not "give" women the vote. Rather, it established a negative: that the right to vote could not be abridged on account of sex alone. This session brings together diverse participants who will each illuminate one facet of women’s political history at this key transitional moment. Together, participants will emphasize the radical achievement of the amendment, exploring the full implications of what it meant to remove sex as a barrier to voting, which resulted in the largest-ever one-time expansion of the electorate and mobilized a transnational network of suffragists intent on redefining citizenship. Speakers will consider how newly enfranchised voters used their rights, including to erect new barriers to citizenship through immigration restriction and literacy tests, and will also explore the expansion of mass incarceration and how women targeted by these exclusions demanded justice.

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