Women Get the Vote--By One Vote!

Women Get the Vote--By One Vote!
Florence Harding: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: One to three class periods


The right of women to vote was finally a reality when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1920, during the administration of Warren G. Harding.  One cannot help but think that Florence Harding was particularly gratified.


Students participating in this lesson will learn the story of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and the part played by one young man in Tennessee, proving that, indeed, one vote really counts!

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet; access to print materials about the 19th Amendment.


1.  Introduce the lesson by asking students if they believe that every vote is important in an election.  Chances are they may say, "No."  If so, you are in business!

2.  Using the websites listed below, assign students to research the passage of the 19th Amendment, particularly the role played in ratification by a young man from Tennessee.

3.  When students' research is completed, engage students in a discussion that brings out the following points:

  • Who was Carrie Chapman Catt?
  • Who was Harry Burn?
  • Why did Harry vote to ratify the 19th Amendment?
  • Why were many people so angry with him?
  • How did he prove that a single vote can, in effect, move mountains?


Extending the Lesson:

This lesson could be extended by having students research the background to the 19th Amendment, including the long and sometimes bitter fight for women's suffrage.

Sources & Resources:



This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.