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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-27-07 06:42 PM
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Jeanette Rankin
Edited on Wed Jun-27-07 06:46 PM by John Q. Citizen
Monatan's Jeanette Rankin was born in Missoula MT in 1880. She graduated from the University of Monatana in 1902. She is remembered as the first woman elected to the US House of Representitives and as the only congressperson to vote against US entry into both WWI AND WWII.

She spent her life working for women's and children's causes and for peace. She was quite an amazing person.

Unable to settle to social work, Rankin enrolled in the University of Washington. While a student in Washington she became involved in the struggle for women's suffrage and eventually became legislative secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

A member of the Republican Party, in 1916 Rankin decided to run for Congress. Rankin, who campaigned for universal suffrage, prohibition, child welfare reform, an end to child labour and staying out of the First World War, became the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. One of her first actions was to introduce a bill that would have allowed women citizenship independent of their husbands.

A pacifist, Rankin was one of the 49 members of Congress to vote against war with Germany. Fellow suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt urged Rankin to change her mind, fearing that she would damage the cause by reflecting the view that women were sentimental and irresponsible.
Rankin's controversial views on the First World War, trade union rights, equal pay and birth-control, lost her the Republican Senate nomination in 1918. She therefore stood as an independent but without the support of a party machine, was easily defeated.


She later ran and won another seat to the US Congress in the 40's, and she was THE ONLY member of congress to vote against war with Japan. She spoke elequently on the floor of the house at the time of the vote saying, "I cannot vote for war..."

Rankin continued to work for women's equality and for children, and was an activist working to stop the war in Vietnam. She died in 1973, at the age of 92, still working for peace.
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