Rankin, Jeannette

born June 11, 1880, near Missoula, Mont., U.S.
died May 18, 1973, Carmel, Calif.

U.S. reformer, first woman member of the U.S. Congress (1917–19, 1941–43).

She was a social worker and an active member of the woman suffrage movement. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916, she introduced the first bill to give women the vote. A pacifist, she voted against declaring war on Germany (1917). After losing her bid for a U.S. Senate seat (1918), she returned to social work. In 1940 she was again elected to the House, where she became the only legislator to vote against the declaration of war on Japan. Declining to seek reelection, she continued to lecture on social reform. In 1968, at age 87, she led 5,000 women, the "Jeannette Rankin Brigade," in protest of the Vietnam War.

Jeannette Rankin, 1918.

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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▪ American politician
born June 11, 1880, near Missoula, Montana, U.S.
died May 18, 1973, Carmel, California
 first woman member of the U.S. Congress (1917–19, 1941–43), a vigorous feminist (women's movement) and a lifetime pacifist and crusader for social and electoral reform.

      Rankin graduated from the University of Montana in 1902. She subsequently attended the New York School of Philanthropy (later the New York, then the Columbia, School of Social Work) before embarking on a career of social work in Seattle, Washington, in 1909. Caught up in the rising tide of sentiment for woman suffrage, she campaigned effectively for the next five years in Washington, California, and Montana on behalf of the cause. In 1914 she became legislative secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and in that same year she led a successful campaign for woman suffrage in her native Montana.

      In 1916 she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (Representatives, House of), thus becoming the first woman to hold a seat in either chamber. In office she introduced the first bill that would have allowed women citizenship independent of their husbands and also supported government-sponsored hygiene instruction in maternity and infancy. Reflecting a deep-seated pacifism, she became an outspoken isolationist and was one of 49 members of Congress to vote against declaring war on Germany in 1917. This unpopular stand cost her the Republican Senate nomination in 1918; she ran as an independent and lost. After the war she became a lobbyist and later returned to social work.

      Running on an antiwar platform in 1940, Rankin once again won election to the House. She created a furor as the only legislator to vote against the declaration of war on Japan after the raid on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), effectively terminating her political career with this vote. She did not seek reelection but continued to lecture on various aspects of social reform. She was active in the National Consumers League, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and other reform organizations. Her militant feminism remained unabated as late as the 1960s, when she founded a self-sufficient women's “cooperative homestead” in Georgia. She also became active again in the peace movement, urging women to demand a halt to the U.S. intervention in Vietnam (Vietnam War). On January 15, 1968, at the age of 87, she led 5,000 women, calling themselves the “Jeannette Rankin Brigade,” to the foot of Capitol Hill to demonstrate opposition to the hostilities in Indochina.

Additional Reading
Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin, First Lady in Congress (1974); and Kevin S. Giles, Flight of the Dove: The Story of Jeannette Rankin (1980).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rankin, Jeannette — (1880 1973)    Born in Missoula, Montana, Jeannette Rankin was a graduate of the University of Montana in 1902 and the New York School of Philanthropy in 1909. She was a social worker in Seattle in 1909 and became involved in the women’s suffrage …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Rankin, Jeannette — (11 jun. 1880, cerca de Missoula, Mont., EE.UU.–18 may. 1973, Carmel, Cal.). Reformadora estadounidense, primera mujer integrante del Congreso de EE.UU. (1917–19, 1941–43). Fue asistente social y activa militante del movimiento por el sufragio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rankin,Jeannette — Ran·kin (răngʹkĭn), Jeannette. 1880 1973. American reformer and politician. A leader in the women s suffrage movement in Montana, her home state, she later was the first woman U.S. representative (1917 1919 and 1941 1943) and the only legislator… …   Universalium

  • Jeannette Pickering Rankin — (* 11. Juni 1880 im Missoula County, Montana; † 18. Mai 1973 in Carmel, Kalifornien) war eine US amerikanische Politikerin, Frauenrechtlerin und Friedensaktivistin. Jeannette Rankin war die erste Frau, die ins US Repräsentantenhaus gewählt wurde… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Rankin (name) — Rankin is a last name of Scottish and northern Irish origin. The name is derived from the medieval personal name Rankin which is a diminutive of Ronald or Rand combined with the diminutive suffix kin . [http://www.ancestry.com/facts/Rankin family …   Wikipedia

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