"As a Republic dedicated to liberty and justice for all, this Nation cannot deny equal status to women."
On August 22, 1974, President Ford signed a proclamation designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. That date honored the incorporation of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote, into the Constitution on August 26, 1920.
In the proclamation President Ford noted his previous backing of the Equal Rights Amendment and his intention to continue supporting it. “Today I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to that amendment,” he stated. “The time for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment has come just as surely as did the time for the 19th Amendment.”
Representatives Yvonne Brathwait Burke (D-Calif), Barbara Jordan (D-Tex), Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), Marjorie S. Holt (R-Md), Leonor K. Sullivan (D-Mo), Cardiss Collins (D -Ill), Corinne C. Boggs (D-La), Margaret M. Heckler (R-Mass), Bella S. Abzug (D-NY), Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), Ella T. Grasso (D-Conn), Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo), and Patsy T. Mink (D-Hawaii) attended the signing ceremony held in the Cabinet Room. First Lady Betty Ford and Anne Armstrong, Counsellor to the President, were also present for the signing.
Cast your vote today!
Today is the last day to vote! Do you want the Americans with Disabilities Act to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery?
At the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (known as the ADA) on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush said,
“Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another ’Independence Day,’ one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom.”
Image: On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. With him on the South Lawn of the White House are (from left to right, sitting) Evan Kemp, Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Justin Dart, Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; and (left to right, standing) Rev. Harold Wilke and Swift Parrino, Chairperson, National Council on Disability. Image from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
The 26th Amendment Lowers the Voting Age to 18
Today in history, July 5, 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was officially certified. President Nixon had signed the Act, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age, on January 1, 1971.
When the Founding Fathers set the voting age at twenty-one, they were following a common law tradition that went relatively unchallenged in the United States until 1942. In October of that year, as Americans fought in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation to lower the military draft age from 21 to 18. For many, this raised the question, “if a man is old enough to serve, is he old enough to vote?”
From 1942 until 1965, members of Congress introduced over sixty resolutions to grant young people the right to vote, and in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first President to voice his support for the youth vote.
Image: Certification of the 26th Amendment, 7/5/71. From the Nixon Library.
"That we have the vote means nothing. That we use it in the right way means everything. Our political work has only begun when we have the ballot. And that work should be carried out exactly as our college work is — as any good work which we undertake is — it must be thoughtful, idealistic, clean, effective."
-Lou Henry Hoover, April 10, 1920
Before she was First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover spoke at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. At the time of her speech, the 19th Amendment had been passed by Congress. On August 18, 1920, the amendment was ratified, guaranteeing American women the right to vote.
-from the Hoover Library
"It has been my experience in public life that there are few problems which cannot be worked out, if we make a real effort to understand the other fellow’s point of view, and if we try to find a solution on the basis of give-and-take, of fairness to both sides."
-Harry S. Truman
President Truman at the polls, from the Truman Library.