She started off as a social worker, lobbying for women suffrage movement. (source: [46] She maintained homes in both Georgia and Montana. Jeannette Rankin BIOGRAPHY. She helped pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and was a committed pacifist. Jeannette Pickering Rankin (1880-1973) was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. If you're against war, you're against war regardless of what happens. After earning a degree in biology in 1902 from the University of Montana, Rankin followed in her mother's footsteps briefly, working as a teacher. We strive for accuracy and fairness. A hundred years ago, almost to the day, Jeannette Rankin, the … Although the amendment narrowly failed, Jeannette Rankin had been launched on a political career. Abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth is best known for her speech on racial inequalities, "Ain't I a Woman?" But Lord, it was a brave thing! During her early 20s she had turned down a number of marriage proposals, and some historians speculate she may have been lesbian. [3], Rankin used her office to push for better working conditions for laborers. [33] Rankin made frequent speeches around the country on behalf of the Women's Peace Union and the National Council for the Prevention of War (NCPW). https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/jeannette-rankin One cable, from her brother, read, "Montana is 100 percent against you". This accomplishment is even more miraculous, considering this was a time when many women still did not have the right to vote. Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to U.S. Congress. [13] Later, she would draw from the same grassroots infrastructure during her 1916 congressional campaign. Even the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, could not dissuade Rankin from her pacifist stance and she voted against entering the war. While her action was widely ridiculed in the press, William Allen White, writing in the Kansas Emporia Gazette, acknowledged her courage in taking it: Probably a hundred men in Congress would have liked to do what she did. [15] She had greater success pushing for better working conditions in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. [c] After ratification by three-fourths of the states, it became the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Jeannette Rankin was born on June 11, 1880 on her parent's ranch near Missoula, Montana. Rankin finished second in the voting, defeating Frank Bird Linderman, among others, to become the first woman elected to Congress. [47] Rankin led 5,000 participants from Union Station to the steps of the Capitol Building, where they presented a peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack. She testified before multiple Congressional committees in opposition to a variety of preparedness measures. [36] She was appointed to the Committee on Public Lands and the Committee on Insular Affairs. Accomplishments of first female member of Congress represented in song. Jeannette Rankin successfully fought for a woman's right to vote in Washington State and Montana and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. She was the oldest of seven children. She served two terms, one beginning in 1917 and the other in 1941. What people are saying - Write a review. In a burst of Western chivalry, members of the Montana Legislature presented Jeannette Rankin with a small bouquet of violets on February 1, 1910, after she addressed the state House of Representatives on the subject of women's suffrage. Biography of Jeannette Rankin, First Woman Elected to Congress Early Life. This time, the war resolution passed 388 votes –1. Rankin found her calling in the women's suffrage movement. John and his brother . [26] On June 8, 1917, the Speculator Mine disaster in Butte left 168 miners dead. After losing the Republican primary to Oscar M. Lanstrum, she accepted the nomination of the National Party and finished third in the general election behind Lanstrum and incumbent Democrat Thomas J. Contents. Jeannette Pickering Rankin (1880-1973) was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. [48] In 1972, Rankin—by then in her nineties—considered mounting a third House campaign to gain a wider audience for her opposition to the Vietnam War,[3] but longstanding throat and heart ailments forced her to abandon that final project. https://www.biography.com/political-figure/jeannette-rankin. [25] Some considered her vote to be a discredit to the suffragist movement and to her authority in Congress, but others applauded it, including Alice Paul of the National Woman's Party and Representative Fiorello LaGuardia of New York. [13] During this period, Rankin also traveled to Washington to lobby Congress on behalf of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). [15], On December 8, Rankin was the only member of either house of Congress to vote against the declaration of war on Japan. [55], A statue of Rankin by Terry Mimnaugh, inscribed "I Cannot Vote For War", was placed in the United States Capitol's Statuary Hall in 1985. Women’s rights activist and suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt came up with the “Winning Plan” to pass the 19th amendment in 1920. Jeannette Rankin began sharing her life story with Norma Smith in 1963. Her father John was born in Ontario, Canada, to Scottish immigrants Hugh and Jeannette Rankin. Rankin listened to the grievances of federal workers in the bureau, which included long hours and an excessively demanding work pace. April 9, 2017. On May 21, 1919, the House passed the 19th Amendment. Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was an American politician and women's rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States.She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916, and again in 1940.. "This definitive biography of the first woman elected to Congress explores her complexities and accomplishments." Back in Montana, Jeannette learned that a suffrage bill had been in troduced into the legislature. She ran as a Republican from Montana. "Jeannette Rankin is the most thoroughly researched book about Jeannette Rankin ever published." Currently, Jeannette Rankin is … She mobilized again in response to the Vietnam War. In 1928 she founded the Georgia Peace Society, which served as headquarters for her pacifism campaign until its dissolution in 1941, on the eve of World War II. [11] Returning to New York, Rankin became one of the organizers of the New York Woman Suffrage Party,[12] which joined with other suffrage organizations to promote a similar suffrage bill in that state's legislature. —Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Winter 2006 The principal lady to chose for the U.S. Congress, during her two separate terms Rankin, helped pass the nineteenth Amendment and was the main Congressperson to cast a ballot against WWI and WWII. She championed a multitude of diverse women's rights and civil rights causes throughout a career that spanned more than six decades. "[38], Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution requires a representative to live in the "state in which. While she maintained a lifelong, close friendship with the noted journalist and author Katherine Anthony, the women were never romantically involved. [7], Rankin graduated from high school in 1898. [29] With little chance of reelection in the overwhelmingly Democratic western district, Rankin chose instead to run for the Senate in 1918. James J. Lopach is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Montana. [17], Rankin later compared her work in the women's suffrage movement to promoting the pacifist foreign policy that defined her congressional career. The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (in Missoula, Montana) exists to connect and empower people to build a socially … Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was an American politician and women's rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. Learn More: http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/RANKIN,-Jeannette-(R000055)/ Jeannette Rankin effectively battled for a lady’s entitlement to cast a ballot in Washington State and Montana and was chosen for the U.S. Place of Representatives in 1916. This groundbreaking politician was the only legislator to vote against both world wars, reflecting her deep commitment to pacifism. © 2020 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Mary Walker was a physician and women's rights activist who received the Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War. [3] She was the eldest of six children, including five sisters (one of whom died in childhood), and a brother, Wellington, who became Montana's attorney general, and later a Montana Supreme Court justice. She served two terms, one beginning in 1917 and the other in 1941. One of seven children, she was the daughter of a rancher and a schoolteacher. Noteworthy "Small use it will be to save democracy for the race if we cannot save the race for democracy." [28], During Rankin's term, Montana's state legislature voted to replace the state's two at-large Congressional seats with two single-member districts. After graduating with a degree in biology from the … Rankin would later point out that she was, therefore, "the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote". [38] A replica stands in Montana's capitol building in Helena. Accomplishments of first female member of Congress represented in song. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 50 House members who opposed the declaration of war on Germany in 1917. Biography of Jeannette Rankin, First Woman Elected to Congress. Rankin fought for women to vote and women’s rights. Before her political and advocacy career, she explored a variety of careers, including dressmaking, furniture design, and teaching. [7] In 1993, Rankin was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Bouquets of purple violets embellished the room, smoking By Joan Reinthaler. At its dedication, historian Joan Hoff-Wilson called Rankin "one of the most controversial and unique women in Montana and American political history". Biography. [3] On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, addressing a joint session, asked Congress to "make the world safe for democracy" by declaring war on Germany. [3][15] Simultaneously, a splinter group of activists from the women's liberation movement created a protest within the Brigade's protest by staging a "Burial of True Womanhood" at Arlington National Cemetery to draw attention to the passive role allotted to women as wives and mothers. Jeannette Rankin successfully fought for a woman's right to vote in Washington State and Montana and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. She was instrumental in the creation of the Committee on Woman Suffrage and became one of its founding members. She also hired investigative reporter Elizabeth Watson to investigate. And its bravery someway discounted its folly. An ardent pacifist, Rankin voted against the United States entering World War I. delivered at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in 1851. 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