Today in Legal History: Women Get the Vote in Wyoming

On September 30, 1889, the Wyoming legislature approved its state constitution with a provision giving women the right to vote (Wyoming was admitted to the union in 1890). Before becoming a state, Wyoming had been the first territory to give women the right to vote in 1869, followed by the Utah Territory in 1870 and the Washington Territory in 1883 (Washington’s Supreme Court later found that legislation unconstitutional). Washington’s Territorial Legislature had actually introduced the first women’s suffrage bill in 1848, but that bill was narrowly defeated.

While most of the activism for women’s suffrage was on the east coast, the western states were far more responsive to passing laws to enfranchise women. By 1914, most of the western states had given women voting rights while Kansas was the only state east of the Rockies to do so. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, giving all female American citizens the right to vote.

To find out more see:
• Suzanne M. Marilley, Woman Suffrage and the Origins of Liberal Feminism in the United States, 1820-1920 (Harvard U. Press 1996) LAW-Culp Collection (3rd Floor-Range 3A) JK1896.M37 1996
• Ellen Carol DuBois, Woman Suffrage and Women’s Rights (NYU Press 1998) LAW-Culp Collection (3rd Floor-Range 3A) HQ1236.5.U6D83 1998
• Anne Firor Scott, One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage (U. Illinois Press 1982) LAW-Culp Collection (3rd Floor-Range 3A) JK1896.S36 1982
• Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States (Harvard U. Press 1996) LAW-3rd Floor HQ1410.F6 1996

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