HistoryLink.org: Votes and Suffrage

Monday, November 8, 2010

Image courtesy Washington State Historical Society

Votes and Suffrage article from HistoryLink.org, Washington's online encyclopedia

One hundred years ago this week, Washington's all-male electorate ratified Amendment 6 to the state constitution granting women the right to vote, and the state became the fifth in the nation to enfranchise women. But the struggle for woman suffrage in Washington was long and arduous, stretching back to the days when Washington Territory was first formed.

In 1854, Seattle pioneer and territorial legislator Arthur Denny proposed an amendment granting voting rights to "all white females over the age of 18 years," but his proposal lost by one vote. The opportunity to become the first jurisdiction in the nation to grant this right may have passed, but the issue did not die. Susan B. Anthony arrived on October 1, 1871, to help remedy the error, and women gained the vote, lost it, regained it, and then lost it again. Then, on October 1, 1889, an all-male electorate rejected woman suffrage while ratifying a constitution for Washington state, which formally joined the union the following month.

The suffragists persisted in their efforts. School suffrage was achieved in 1890, and by 1906 strong-willed leaders Emma Smith DeVoe and May Arkwright Hutton were busy gathering support throughout the state. Their efforts received a boost in 1909, when the 41st annual convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association was held in Seattle during the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. Washington's enactment of woman suffrage helped pave the way for other Western states to follow suit, and local suffragists pushed hard to amend the U.S. Constitution. Victory was achieved nationwide a decade later.

To help celebrate the suffrage centennial and to assist teachers and students in learning more about this important topic, HistoryLink.org has partnered with The Seattle Times Newspapers in Education (NIE) Program and Heritage 4Culture in creating a six-part curriculum that is available in the Sunday newspaper and also online. You can find out more on our education page, thanks to our Education team, Pat Filer and intern Claire Palay.


Janet Way November 9, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

Thank you for posting this story from History Link on the Anniversary of Women's Suffrage.

Many folks may have forgotten this anniversary otherwise.

I recall a story from the adventures of Lewis and Clark, where when their party reached the Pacific Coast in 1805, Merriweather Lewis conducted a democratic vote on what the next course should be. It may have been the first time for a long period when a woman cast a vote in the Northwest. Sacajewea voted. So she was the real pioneer in the Northwest for women's suffrage in a way.

I also celebrate that we have a remarkable history in Shoreline and the 32nd District for Women elected officials. From mayors and councilmembers to legislators, congressmembers and even two US Senators from our District, we have been represented by many remarkable women.

Thanks gals for all you do to keep democracy alive!

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP