Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
August 26 is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 127 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1920, The 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a women’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.
n January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.
The package containing the certified record of the action of the Tennessee legislature was sent by train to the nation’s capital, arriving in the early hours of August 26. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed it without ceremony at his residence in Washington. None of the leaders of the woman suffrage movement were present when the proclamation was signed, and no photographers or film cameras recorded the event. That afternoon, Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Suffrage Association, was received at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson, the first lady.
The 26th of August was proclaimed “Women’s Equality Day” in 1971 when a joint resolution, that was introduced by Rep. Bella Abzug, was passed. Each year the President issues a proclamation recognizing women’s equality.
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex;
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26th, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and
WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as “Women’s Equality Day,” and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.
1071 – Battle of Manzikert: The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Army at Manzikert.
1346 – Hundred Years’ War: the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights is established at the Battle of Crecy.
1466 – A conspiracy against Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici in Florence, led by Luca Pitti, is discovered.
1498 – Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pieta.
1748 – The first Lutheran denomination in North America, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1768 – The HM Bark Endeavour expedition under Captain James Cook sets sail from England.
* 1778 – The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia.
1789 – Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by National Assembly at Palace of Versailles.
1858 – First news dispatch by telegraph.
1862 – American Civil War: the Second Battle of Bull Run begins.
1883 – The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa begins its final, paroxysmal, stage.
1914 – World War I: the British Expeditionary Force fights a rear-guard action at the Battle of Le Cateau that briefly checks the German advance.
1914 – World War I: the German colony of Togoland is invaded by French and British forces, who take it after 5 days.
1920 – The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote.
1939 – The first Major League Baseball game is telecast, a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn, New York.
1940 – Chad is the first French colony to join the Allies under the administration of Felix Eboue, France’s first black colonial governor.
1942 – Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine: At 2.30 am the German Schutzpolizei starts driving Jews out of their houses, divides them into groups of 120, packs them in freight cars and deports 2000 to Belzec death camp. 500 of the sick and children murdered on the spot.
1944 – World War II: Charles de Gaulle enters Paris.
1957 – The USSR announces the successful test of an ICBM – a “super long distance intercontinental multistage ballistic rocket … a few days ago,” according to the Soviet news agency, ITAR-TASS.
1970 – The then new feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, leads a nation-wide Women’s Strike for Equality.
1971 – The United States Congress declares August 26th as an annual Women’s Equality Day.
1977 – The Charter of the French Language is adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec
1978 – Papal conclave, 1978 (August): Pope John Paul I is elected to the Papacy.
1978 – Sigmund Jahn becomes first German cosmonaut on board of the Soyuz 31 spacecraft.
1980 – John Birges plants a bomb at Harvey’s Resort Hotel in Stateline, Nevada.
1987 – President Ronald Reagan proclaims September 11, 1987 as 9-1-1 Emergency Number Day.
1992 – Vaclav Klaus and Vladimír Meciar signed agreement of split of Czechoslovakia in Brno.
2003 – The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
2008 – Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of the former Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.