Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 47, March 14

Women's suffrage in the United States has a long history.  Though Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote, the movement for women's right to vote began decades earlier.

Lydia Taft (1712–1778), a wealthy widow, was allowed to vote in town meetings in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756.   No other women in the colonial era are known to have voted.

In 1776, New Jersey  placed only one restriction on the general suffrage, which was the possession of at least £50 in cash or property (about $7,800  in today's money), with the election laws referring to the voters as "he or she." In 1790, the law was revised to specifically include women, but in 1807 the law was again revised to exclude them, an unconstitutional act since the state constitution specifically made any such change dependent on the general suffrage.

During the early part of the 19th century, the cause for equal suffrage was carried on by only a few individuals. The first of these was Frances Wright, a Scottish woman who came to the country in 1826 and advocated women's suffrage in an extensive series of lectures.

In 1836 Ernestine Rose, a Polish woman, came to the country and carried on a similar campaign so intensely that she obtained a personal hearing before the New York Legislature, though her petition bore only five signatures.


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