Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress in 1917. She was born in 1880 on her parent’s ranch in Montana.
Rankin was a key organizer and advocate for legislation granting voting rights to women, which became law in 1920 with passage of the 19th Amendment. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, she built a reputation as a social progressive. Rankin became equally well known as a pacifist after voting against U.S. involvement in World War I.
With World War II on the horizon, she was again elected to Congress in 1940, and cast the only vote against declaring war on Japan the day after Pearl Harbor. At age 88, Rankin led the 1968 march on Washington to protest the Vietnam War.