Women’s Suffrage 150th Anniversary
Read this page to find out more about why we celebrate women in Wyoming and to stay in-the-know of upcoming events commemorating this anniversary!
About Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming
In 1869, the Wyoming territory passed the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Act – officially making Wyoming the first in the nation to allow women without restriction (i.e. marital status, property ownership or monetary requirements) an unconditional suffrage. More than 50 years before the U.S. passed the 19th amendment, the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Act guaranteed women their inherent right to vote, serve on a jury and allowed women to hold all public offices. A key difference for Wyoming’s women’s suffrage was that it was never repealed. Previous suffrage acts were not only repealed, but they were also conditional on a woman’s marital status, property ownership and more. Wyoming is the only territory and state to never repeal the act and the only state to enter the union with suffrage intact.
In 2019, Wyoming will celebrate its 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Activities will span through 2019 and 2020, commemorating the anniversary including these important moments-
• Dec. 10, 1869 – Wyoming Territory passes the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Act, guaranteeing women the unconditional right to vote and hold all public office.
• The Wyoming Territory’s law in 1869 was the first in the nation to allow women without restriction an unconditional suffrage.
• Wyoming is the only territory and state to never repeal the act and the only state to enter the union with suffrage intact.
• In 2020, the U.S. will celebrate its 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Wyoming granted women’s suffrage more than 50 years before the 19th amendment allowed U.S. women the same right to cast their first vote in an election.
• Sept. 6, 1870 – Louisa “Eliza” Swain became the first woman to cast a vote in a general election and Sept. 6, 2020 will commemorate the 150th anniversary of this vote in Laramie, Wyoming.
• Sept. 30, 1889 – When Wyoming sought statehood two decades after its historic vote of 1869, the territory’s citizens approved a constitution that maintained the right for women to vote. When Congress threatened to 9 keep Wyoming out of the Union if it didn’t rescind the provision, the territory refused to budge, and sent these words to congressional leaders in a telegram, "We may stay out of the Union 100 years, but we will come with our women." Congress relented, and in 1890, Wyoming formally became the 44th state and the first state to grant women the right to vote.
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
12pm. Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum
Bring your own lunch and listen to a reading of a short play written by the Cheyenne League of Women Voters.
6pm (doors at 5:30) National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Premiere screening of the new Wyoming PBS documentary The State of Equality followed by a Suffragist Toast.
Wyoming was home to many firsts for women including:
- First female Justice of the Peace (1870) – Esther Hobart Morris
- First woman to serve on a jury (1870) – Laramie, WY
- First female court bailiff (1870) – Martha Symons Boies Atkinson
- First woman in the U.S. to vote in a national general election (1870) – Louisa “Eliza” Swain
- First woman confirmed by U.S. Senate to serve in federal position (1895) – Estelle Reel
- First town governed entirely by women (1920) – Jackson, WY
- First female elected governor (1925) – Nellie Tayloe Ross
“We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women.”
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