Jeannette Rankin

Questions for Reflection
  1. What were some of the challenges and obstacles Jeanette Rankin faced as the first woman elected to the United States Congress, and how did she navigate them?
  2. How did Jeanette Rankin's pacifist beliefs and advocacy for peace influence her political career, particularly during times of war such as World War I and World War II?
  3. In what ways did Jeanette Rankin contribute to the women's suffrage movement, both before and during her time in Congress, and what impact did her involvement have on advancing women's rights?
  4. How did Jeanette Rankin's commitment to social justice extend beyond her work in Congress, and what were some of the key issues she championed throughout her life?
  5. What legacy did Jeanette Rankin leave behind as a trailblazer for women in politics, and how did her actions inspire future generations of women to pursue leadership roles and effect positive change?
During her short time in Congress, Jeannette Rankin voted on three historic issues: women’s suffrage, and the U.S. entrance into WWI and WWII. She will be remembered as the first woman in Congress and the first woman in the U.S. to hold a federal office. 
Photograph of Jeannette Rankin speaking from the balcony of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Monday, April 2, 1917 - History By Mail

Photograph of Jeannette Rankin speaking from the balcony of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Monday, April 2, 1917

When Rankin was first elected to Congress, Montana had two at-large House seats, meaning the top two winners of the U.S. House election statewide would win the two House seats. While she was in Congress however, the Montana legislature moved to two single-member districts. This meant that only Montanans in a particular geographic area could vote for their single House seat. This explains the long twenty-two year gap between her Congressional terms.