Courage and persistence.  That’s what it took for American women to win the right to vote 90 years ago this month (August 2010).

New York Times columnist Gail Collins quotes suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt that it took 70 years and 480 campaigns to get Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters. Another 277 campaigns were waged to get party conventions to include women suffrage planks and 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses.

When it comes to rights and democracy, success may take years and enduring hardship and risk.

In 1917, women in conservative dresses picketed the White House, criticizing Pres. Woodrow Wilson for his opposition to giving women the right to vote.

The 33 women were jailed and 40 prison guards beat them viciously.  As the women were held for weeks, Alice Paul  (right) went on a hunger strike. Guards force-fed her through a tube down her throat. She was tortured for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press. To read about Paul and others, click here.

On August 26, the anniversary of women receiving the right to vote, all Americans should toast the brave women who suffered and soldiered on for years to win this precious right to elect our government.  But the greatest tribute is to exercise this hard-won right this fall.

The deadline to register to vote in Colorado is October 4.  Information at www.lwvcolorado.org.