The right of women to vote was added to the U.S. constitution one hundred years ago. To understand the Nineteenth Amendment, look back fifty years, just after the Civil War, to the provision that opened the vote to Black men. Michael Ross is a professor of constitutional history: “As one newspaper said, there were loopholes through which a coach and four horses could be driven in the 15th amendment, and they knew it. But it was a political calculation that this pared-down version of the 15th amendment was sent to the states.”
So pared-down, the 1870 amendment did not include women. Writer Elaine Weiss, an expert on the suffrage movement, says women who had worked for the abolition of slavery, felt betrayed. It took decades to heal the rift.