Women’s Right to Vote
Teddy Roosevelt — a “liberal” Republican, an odd duck — was one of the first major political figures to advocate “woman suffrage”, the right of women to vote, as he ran for President for a third term in 1912 under his Progressive Party. By 1919 both major parties were on board, and voting took place that summer on the 19th Amendment, declaring the right to vote regardless of sex. Here is a breakdown of the votes in the United States House and Senate:
The significant percentages above of Democrats — nearly 50% in the Senate — who voted against the 19th Amendment were almost exclusively from the old South, the one-time Confederacy.
Opposition to the 19th Amendment by the South continued, as the states ratified it in groups and then one by one; after months with no movement toward the 3/4 majority necessary for full ratification, over a year after it passed the Senate and House, Tennessee finally pushed the count to 36, the magic number (out of 48 states at that time; Alaska and Hawaii had not yet reached statehood), and the bill was officially ratified. Nine of the twelve states which still had not ratified were from the former Confederacy.
Maryland — a Border State during the Civil War, a Slave state which nevertheless remained in the Union — finally ratified the measure nearly twenty years after the 3/4 majority had been reached, followed later by Virginia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and finally— in 1984, more than sixty years late — Mississippi.