Women’s Suffrage: The man who broke the tie in a crucial vote

Tennessee 225
Womens suffrage March

Women march for the right to vote in a Nashville parade for women’s suffrage.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This week marked 101 years after Tennessee granted women’s suffrage.

According to historians with the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), Nashville was an epicenter of heated debate for and against women’s right to vote.

Women march for the right to vote in a Nashville parade for women’s suffrage.

The State Senate passed the resolution easily August 13, 1920, but the fight in the House of Representatives was neck and neck.

TSLA said Harry T. Burn made history when he broke the 48-48 tie, after initially voting against the legislation. In a historical note, Burn received a letter from his mother encouraging him to vote for women’s suffrage.

Harry T. Burn was a Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from Niota, in McMinn County. Elected at the age of twenty-two, he became the youngest member of the state legislature.

August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to adopt the 19th Amendment making it the final state needed for ratification.

The U.S. government declared the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, making it part of the constitution.

The Senate Chamber at the moment the 19th Amendment vote was being counted by the clerk. From the Nashville Tennessean, Sunday morning, August 29, 1920.

For a closer look at the legislative documents on women’s suffrage in Tennessee click this link.

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