|The First Breakthroughs
|Digital History ID 3204|
The first breakthroughs for women's suffrage took place in the West. In 1869, Wyoming territory was the first to give women the vote on equal terms with men. This led Wyoming to call itself the "Equality State" after its admissions to the Union in 1890. Utah territory enacted women's suffrage in 1873; and Colorado in 1893, where the movement received support from the state's coal miners, many of whom had lost their jobs during the financial panic of that same year. In Colorado, Caroline Nickols, who edited a newspaper for women called the Colorado Antelope, had written in 1879:
All women are victims more or less; all suffer in one way or another from a preponderance of masculine influence....[men fear] her emancipation will be the death blow to their pet vices and their darling sins.
Idaho adopted women's suffrage in 1896. Not another state would give women the vote until 1910.
In the West, support for suffrage was intermixed with a variety of seemingly unrelated issues. Some Westerners favored women's suffrage as a way to attract settlers; others believed that it would attract women and help "civilize" the region. In Utah, suffrage was related to efforts to maintain a Mormon voting majority within the state.
Copyright 2021 Digital History