Inspired by Jeannette Rankin

June 28, 2010

A Woman of Peace, Courage, and Honor

Jeannette Rankin - 1918

It’s good to be reminded that lovers of peace who were unwilling to compromise their commitment and vision for a better way to live our lives have set an example that, even after many years, can continue to inspire us. Jeannette Rankin is such a person. She should remembered, the memory of her unswerving faithfulness to her values honored.

The oldest of 11 children.

Graduate of Montana State University with B.S. in Biology

Became involved with women’s suffrage in 1910 and in 1912 she became the field secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association

First woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1916, and the first women elected to any national legislature in any western democracy.

Jeannette Rankin

Rankin was the only congress person to vote against authorizing U.S. engagement in World War I, thus costing her her seat in the next election. She continued to work for women’s rights, children’s rights, and peace.


  • You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. 
  • I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote no.   (Congressional speech, 1917) 
  • As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.   (Congressional speech, 1941) 
  • Killing more people won’t help matters. (1941, after Pearl Harbor) 
  • There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense; 
    for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.[1929] 
  • It is unconscionable that 10,000 boys have died in Vietnam…. If 10,000 American women had mind enough they could end the war, if they were committed to the task, even if it meant going to jail. [1967] 
  • If I had my life to live over, I would do it all again, but this time I would be nastier.
  • Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both. 
  • We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress. 
  • Small use it will be to save democracy for the race if we cannot save the race for democracy. 
  • What one decides to do in crisis depends on one’s philosophy of life, and that philosophy cannot be changed by an incident. If one hasn’t any philosophy in crises, others make the decision. 
  • You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.

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