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  • Rebecca Latimer Felton: Senator for a Day

    Rebecca Latimer Felton, a Georgia native and women's rights activist, was the first woman to serve as a United States senator. Following the death of Georgia Senator Thomas Watson, Felton was appointed to the open seat during a special election in 1922. Although she was the nation’s official first woman senator, Felton served for only a day.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Why is Rebecca Latimer Felton's position as a United States senator seen as largely symbolic?

    2. Rebecca Latimer Felton campaigned for women's rights and their right to vote (suffrage). Draft your own argument for women's suffrage. 

    Expansion

    1. Create a political bumper sticker or button for Rebecca Latimer Felton. Share your creation with the class and explain what type of person during this time period might display the button or sticker.

    Vocabulary

    special election: an election scheduled at other than the usual date for a specific purpose, often to fill an office that has become vacant before the incumbent has completed the term
    confidante: one to whom secrets or private thoughts are disclosed
    19th Amendment: granted female citizens of the United States the right to vote

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Why is Rebecca Latimer Felton's position as a United States senator seen as largely symbolic? 
    Rebecca Latimer Felton only officially served as a United States senator for one day. At the request of Senator-elect Walter George, she took the oath of office before Congress. The next day, George took over as senator.

    2. Rebecca Latimer Felton campaigned for women's rights and their right to vote (suffrage). Draft your own argument for women's suffrage. 
    Student answers will vary. They may include giving a voice to all people in a representative democracy and the value women's voices bring to the prosperity of a country. 

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