Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) became the first woman to hold a high government office in the United States when she won election to the United States Congress, in 1916 from the state of Montana. After winning her House seat in 1916 she said, "I may be the first woman member of Congress but I won’t be the last." She also was elected in 1940.
Rankin's two terms in Congress coincided with U.S. entry into both World Wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 56 members of Congress who voted against entry into World War I in 1917, and the only member of Congress to vote against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Rankin was born on June 11, 1880 near Missoula, Montana—nine years before the territory became a state—to schoolteacher Olive Pickering Rankin and Scottish-Canadian immigrant carpenter and rancher John Rankin. She was the eldest of six children, including five girls (one of whom died in childhood) and one brother, who later became her principal political advisor...
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