Giving the Ladies the Vote

Women for Voting Rights

On December 10, 1869, fifty-one years before national suffrage, Wyoming became the first government in the nation to give women full voting rights. One reason historians give for this momentous move is that men in the territory hoped it would attract unmarried women to move to Wyoming. But when it came to statehood, Congress demanded Wyoming rescind its woman suffrage. History gives us two versions of the strongly worded telegram that told Washington that wouldn’t do: “We may stay out of the Union for 100 years but we will come in with our women,” or “We will remain out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without the women.” Wyoming, known as the “Equality State,” entered the union in 1890 with full suffrage for women. Wyoming again made history in 1924 when its voters elected Nellie Tayloe Ross, the nation’s first female governor.

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