Friday, September 30, 2011

Now This Surprised Me...!

Many of us, including me, might have thought that the folks in the eastern states would have led the struggle for women's rights. Turns out, that wasn't the case!

Looks like the people in the West were the first to recognize how important the vote was to the so-called "fairer sex," and were the first to take appropriate action.

Sept. 30, 1889:
Wyoming legislators write the first state constitution to grant women the vote

On this day in 1889, the Wyoming state convention approves a constitution that includes a provision granting women the right to vote. Formally admitted into the union the following year, Wyoming thus became the first state in the history of the nation to allow its female citizens to vote.

That the isolated western state of Wyoming should be the first to accept women's suffrage was a surprise. Leading suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were Easterners, and they assumed that their own more progressive home states would be among the first to respond to the campaign for women's suffrage. Yet the people and politicians of the growing number of new Western states proved far more supportive than those in the East.

In 1848, the legislature in Washington Territory became the first to introduce a women's suffrage bill. Though the Washington bill was narrowly defeated, similar legislation succeeded elsewhere, and Wyoming Territory was the first to give women the vote in 1869, quickly followed by Utah Territory (1870) and Washington Territory (1883). As with Wyoming, when these territories became states they preserved women's suffrage.

By 1914, the contrast between East and West had become striking. All of the states west of the Rockies had women's suffrage, while no state did east of the Rockies, except Kansas. Why the regional distinction? Some historians suggest western men may have been rewarding pioneer women for their critical role in settling the West. Others argue the West had a more egalitarian spirit, or that the scarcity of women in some western regions made men more appreciative of the women who were there while hoping the vote might attract more.

Whatever the reasons, while the Old West is usually thought of as a man's world, a wild land that was "no place for a woman," Westerners proved far more willing than other Americans to create states where women were welcomed as full and equal citizens.

Know what I think? I think that all of the reasons mentioned in the article above had something to do with the passage of these laws, but the real reason probably was the fact that most women in the western states had access to guns and knives...and knew full well how to use them!

Womanly wiles make a pretty formidable weapon by themselves, but when backed up by a skill with weapons...look out!

We got a pretty good rain last night (thank goodness!) so how about we have coffee in the kitchen? I have cinnamon rolls!


sel said...

Wise words Mr. Jim. Wish I had one of those cinnamon rolls...better than chocolate any day in my opinion!

HermitJim said...

Hey Sel...
I'll try and save you a couple, but I sure like me some buttered rolls with my coffee!

Glad to see you this morning and I appreciate you coming by!

RJIII said...

I read somewhere(not enough coffee yet)that Wyoming had to have a minimum number of voters to be admitted to the union so they gave women the right to vote. So it was politics more than anything else.

Sixbears said...

In just 4 more years, Saudi Arabia's women will get to vote in an election. Of course, their elected officials don't have much power in the monarchy.

Time to make the coffee and bake some fresh bread.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments about the independent frontier woman EARNING the respect of males, farming and ranching is hard work and any woman that can accomplish it has definitely earned a right to vote. Would that be today, with the women from Jersey Shore and Wives of series, who really don't seem to have a clue in what hard work is.

Ben in Texas said...

Gonna have to agree with your statement that women had " access to guns and knives"
Any woman packing a 45 gets my vote to be able to vote !!!
Glad you got some showers, I got almost 1/4in with the cool front moving in.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

They rewarded the women and punished the men, forever. Thanks for the story and have a great Friday.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dakotas5...
I can see where that might have happened. I haven't done enough research into it to know for sure.

I really am glad you could come by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Pretty big step for those folks, that's for sure!

Baking today sounds like a perfect past time! Makes the whole house smell good!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Anon 7:17...
Men or women that were too soft didn't last very long, I'll bet!

I think that most western women were treated more as partners than in the East, even before the vote! Only makes sense!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Ben...
Been so long I almost had to Google it to see what it was! Really was nice, though.

Yep, that firearm would make a very good persuader!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Mechanic...
I really am glad you enjoyed the story today!

Thanks for coming over!

Bob from Athens said...

If you don't live in Wyoming this may come as a suprise, however if you do live there it definitely is no suprise. They are proud of it and let you know.

JoJo said...

YIPPEE You had rain. I am so happy for you. I hope it will come more often now.
As for women's rights, those women had a tough life in those days. They worked just as hard as the men. I will leave it at that out of repect for Mr. Hermit.

Cinnamon buns and coffee in your cozy kitchen sounds wonderful.

HermitJim said...

Hey Bob...
Are you saying they are as proud as Texans? I've never been there, but it would probably be a good trip!

Thanks, Bob, for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
Sure wasn't an easy life for women, I'm sure!

Like I said, they were more partners than anything!

Thanks so much for coming by this morning, sweetie!