In 1917, Jeannette Rankin, a Montana Republican, became the first woman to serve in the House. Shortly after her election to Congress, the 19th Amendment was passed in 1919.
Ratification of the amendment was a long and difficult one. Dating back to 1896, the Republican Party became the first major party to officially favor women’s suffrage. In that year, Republican Sen. A. A. Sargent of California introduced a proposal in the Senate to give women the right to vote. The proposal was defeated four times in the Democratic-controlled Senate. When the Republican Party regained control of Congress, the Equal Suffrage Amendment finally passed (304-88). Only 16 Republicans opposed the amendment.
When the amendment was submitted to the states, 26 of the 36 states that ratified it had Republican-controlled legislatures. Twelve states, all Republican, had given women full suffrage before the federal amendment was finally ratified.
***Information adapted from the Republican National Committee’s website.