One Vote Against War With Japan

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

I was watching a movie about Pearl Harbor and it said that when the president asked for a declaration of war (against Japan) there was only one vote against it. Who was it?

The Answer:

One day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went to Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Japan. The Senate unanimously approved the resolution 82-0, while the House of Representatives vote was 388 to 1. That one vote was from Montana Republican Jeannette Rankin.

As a woman, I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else, she explained on the floor of the House after being booed and hissed at by other members of Congress .

Rankin was a lifelong pacifist whose passionate support for women's suffrage earned her the distinction of being the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. She served two separate terms in the House, from 1917-19 and from 1941-43.

In 1917, Rankin also voted "no" to declare war on Germany during World War I.

She spent her entire life working for causes that promoted peace and women's rights. In 1968 she ran the Jeannette Rankin Peace Brigade, a anti-war group, and in 1971 she continued her efforts by writing a letter to President Richard M. Nixon, asking him to end the war in Vietnam.

She died two years later, at age 92.

Here is a link to a biography of Rankin from the official web site of the U.S. Senate.

-The Fact Monster

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