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The first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress was Montana’s Jeannette Rankin. Her most noteworthy feat was her opposition to war. Then, very much like now, being against the war was seen as a treason.

Jeannette Rankin

The first U.S. congresswoman Jeannette Rankin.

In an essay she wrote in 1958, she explained her votes against World War I in 1917 and against World War II after the country had been attacked at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

While she did have some support the first time, she stood alone before congress the second time around.

According to her own account, she would not be able to face her remaining days in office if she had not voted against the war. In her remarks after a long investigation into data available then, Rankin claimed the war was nothing but an attempt to blame the Japanese for the aggression the United States had started by imposing economic sanctions against them.

The very first U.S. congresswoman, a Republican, was vehemently against war and dedicated to bringing details the administration would rather keep under wraps to light no matter what. Her decision to stay true to her role as a representative of her people was all she needed to act honorably.

In 1958 she said:

And how much do the people and even the members of Congress know about the moves now being made by our government or other governments which may lead to another war? Our being kept in ignorance arouses my apprehensions today as it did more than forty years ago when World War I burst upon my world.

It breaks my heart this is still true today. ~


Quote taken from: We Who Dared to Say No to War – American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now, Edited by Murray Polner & Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

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