The founding fathers, Jefferson and Adams especially, had no intention of allowing women a voice. Adams replied to his wife's urging to "remember the ladies" in coding the new laws with a tease that men were already subject to the "despotism of the petticoat." And so, despite Abigail Adams' (and other women's) support and help behind the scenes, Adams and the other "fathers" cut women out of having a voice in the government. Hmph.
But one thing is certain -- Wyoming certainly received a load of free publicity over the issue. Some of the legislators did believe that women ought to have the same rights as African-Americans (men, of course) who gained citizenship and voting rights by passage of the Fourteenth Amendment on July 9th of 1868. And remember, all of the Southern states had to ratify that amendment in order to re-enter the union.
To the left, a statue of Esther Hobart Morris stands in front of the Cheyenne State Capitol. A bronze copy of the statue is also in the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. I felt pride for Wyoming's women when I visited there a few years ago, since she was the first woman appointed to public office. And Kansas claims Susanna Salter as the first elected mayor (1887). Hooray for western pioneer women!
Wyoming women were also called to served on juries after the suffrage vote. And in September of 1870, almost 1,000 women voted in the territory's second election. To think it took another 50 years before the rest of the women living in America could take a ballot.
Our foremothers fought hard to gain voting rights. So next time there's an election, ladies, make sure you vote. We owe them that much.
Meg Mims is one half of the D.E. Ireland team writing the Eliza Doolittle-Henry Higgins cozy mystery series for St. Martin's Minotaur, coming out in September 2014. She’s won a Spur Award and a Laramie Award for her western mystery series and also writes sweet dog/cat rescue romance novellas. Meg loves books, flower gardens, visiting tearooms – anything to get out of dusting. Vacuuming does help plotting, though.
Sources: www.wyohistory.org, www.history.com