Jeannette Rankin Takes Her Seat
Back in the day on April 2nd, 1917 Jeannette Rankin was sworn in as the first Congresswoman in the history of the United States. It didn’t take long for this pacifist woman from the state of Montana to make trouble in the halls of Congress. Just four days into her term, she cast one of the few votes against U.S. entry into World War I stating, “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war.” Her stance was quickly vilified along gender lines by those who saw women as unfit to be politicians and Rankin lost her seat two years later. After a number of years working for peace, Rankin sought and won re-election to the House of Representatives in 1940. Now among a handful of women legislators, Rankin distinguished herself and made history once more. With World War II raging overseas, she cast the sole vote against U.S. entry into hostilities.
Looking back at Rankin’s career, it’s true as they say, “well behaved women seldom make history.”