Jeannette Rankin Facts

Jeannette Rankin Facts
Jeanette Pickering Rankin was a long-lived suffragette, feminist, and politician from Montana during a good part of the twentieth century. Throughout the course of her long life, Rankin won the distinction of being the first woman to win a federal election, having won one of Montana's at-large congressional seats in 1916 and 1940. Rankin was born on June 11, 1880 to the family of John Rankin in a farm near Missoula, Montana. Rankin was raised with five other siblings in a truly frontier life in late nineteenth century Montana. In addition to doing the traditionally female chores of cooking, cleaning, and caring for her younger siblings, Jeannette also learned how to operate farm implements and machinery. She graduated from the University of Montana in 1902 with a BS in biology. A consummate workaholic, Rankin never married and had no children.
Interesting Jeannette Rankin Facts:
After graduating from college, Rankin moved quite a bit for the time, having lived in San Francisco, California, New York, New York, and Spokane, Washington.
While living in New York, Rankin helped organize the New York Women's Suffrage Party.
Rankin was a life long member of the Republican Party.
Jeannette's brother, Wellington, was a former Attorney General of Montana and Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court.
Rankin led the effort to amend Montana's state constitution to give women the right to vote in 1914.
Wellington helped finance Jeannette's first political campaign and also helped by using his deep political connections in the state of Montana.
She believed that corruption, graft, and inefficiency in government could be cured, or at least mitigated, with the participation of women.
When she was first elected to the U.S. House in 1916, women still couldn't vote in many states.
Jeannette was only one of fifty congressmen to vote against U.S. involvement in World War I in 1917.
When Rankin voted to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to United States Constitution in 1919, she was literally, and in her own words, the "only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote."
Due to redistricting, Rankin decided not to run for reelection to the House in 1920.
She lived on a small, primitive farm in Georgia during the 1920s.
Jeannette founded the Georgia Peace Society in 1928, which became defunct after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Rankin was the only member of both houses of Congress to vote against a declaration of war on Japan on December 8, 1941.
Although abstaining from voting against a declaration of war against Germany and Italy, Rankin's December 8 vote ended her political career.
Rankin traveled the United States and the world extensively: one of her favorite places to visit was India.
Jeannette led the "Rankin Brigade," a group of several thousand Vietnam War protesters, in a march to the Capitol Building in 1968.
Rankin died on May 18, 1973 in Carmel, California at the age of ninety-three.
Today she is remembered as much, if not more, for her pacifism than her work in the women's suffrage movement.

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