Washington Women's Suffrage Centennial

1848-07-19 13:31:13

First Women's Rights Convention

The first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Fall, New York in July of 1848. This gathering launched the women’s suffrage movement, making way for women to win the right to vote seven decades.

1853-02-08 08:36:34

Washington Territory separates from Oregon

Following creation of Oregon Territory in 1848, settlers living north of the Columbia River began demanding their own territory. Congress consented on February 8, 1853, with the creation of Washington Territory. Washington became a state in 1889.

1854-02-28 00:00:00

Seattle legislator Arthur A. Denny introduces the 1854 women's suffrage legislation

Women's suffrage legislation is introduced during the first session of the Washington Territorial Legislature. It fails on a vote of 8 to 9

1870-06-06 00:00:00

Washington women cast first successful ballot in Thurston County

On June 6, 1870, Charlotte Emily Olney French (1828-1897), after a debate with the election judges, casts her vote in a Washington territorial election, the first woman to do so. Six more women at her Grand Mound precinct in south Thurston County also vote that day. Eight women at the Black River precinct a few miles north get the news and add their votes for a total of 15 approved ballots by women. The women base their arguments on recently enacted legislation sponsored by Edward Eldridge (1828-1892), a Whatcom County legislator, which strikes the word "male" from the voting laws. French's sister, Mary Olney Brown (1821-1886), and others try to vote in Olympia but are turned down. - HistoryLink.org

1871-10-19 15:54:28

Susan B. Anthony tours Washington Territory

On October 19, 1871, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), vice president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, became the first woman to speak before the Washington Territorial Legislature. Nine days after Anthony's speech, a group of women organized the Washington Woman Suffrage Association.

1878-06-11 00:00:00

Suffragists present petition at first Washington Constitutional Convention

On June 11, 1878, Washington Territory legislators meet in Walla Walla to craft a state constitution. Walla Walla is the largest city in the territory in 1878 and the most logical place for politicians to meet. Legislators arrive in June and complete the constitution in 40 days. The constitution they draft will be ratified at the next general election in November, but later rejected by Congress One of the most controversial issues discussed was woman suffrage. This issue came up on the third day of the convention and by the sixth day, B. F. Dennison presented a petition signed by 600 men and women asking that the matter be addressed. G. H. Steward requested that woman suffrage leader Abigail Scott Duniway be permitted to address the convention. Duniway spoke for a half hour, appealing to the delegates to make Washington the first state to grant women the right to vote. Some progress was made when the delegation voted to give married women the right to enter into a contract and to pursue legal action against any wrongdoer.

1883-11-23 00:00:00

Washington women win the right to vote by Territorial legislative action

In 1883 the Territorial Legislature passed a bill that gave women the right to vote. The law read "All American citizens, above the age of twenty-one years, and all American half-breeds, over that age, who have adopted the habits of the whites, and all other inhabitants of this territory, above that age. . .” It goes on to state that "Whenever the word 'his' occurs in the Chapter aforesaid, it shall be construed to mean 'his or her,' as the case may be."

1887-02-03 00:00:00

Washington Territorial Court declares suffrage law unconstitutional

On February 3, 1887, the Washington Territory Supreme Court ruled that women could not serve as jurors, basing its decision on a technicality. It declared the suffrage law unconstitutional.

1888-01-16 00:00:00

Washington Territorial Legislature restores women's right to vote

On January 16, 1888, the territorial legislature enacted a new law that restored women's right to vote, but excluded them from juries.

1888-08-14 00:00:00

Nevada Bloomer Stands By Her Man

A bizarre challenge came from Nevada Bloomer, a Spokane saloonkeeper's wife. Bloomer, who opposed suffrage, arranged to have her ballot rejected by precinct judges in a municipal election, then proceeded to sue them. On August 14, 1888, the territorial Supreme Court ruled the suffrage law void because Congress had not intended to give the territories authority to enfranchise women. When suffragists raised $5,000 to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bloomer refused to cooperate. Without her as plaintiff, there could be no appeal. Bloomer sided with the saloon lobby, which opposed suffrage.

1888-11-14 00:00:00

Washington Territorial Supreme Court nullifies women's vote again

On November 14, 1888, the territorial Supreme Court again nullified the women's vote, arguing that Congress had not intended to enfranchise women.

1889-11-11 00:00:00

Washington Becomes a State

Washington becomes a State

1909-06-30 00:00:00

Washington Equal Suffrage Association holds its convention in Seattle

On June 30, 1909, the Washington Equal Suffrage Association holds its convention at Plymouth Congregational Church in downtown Seattle. During the course of its proceedings, hostilities between the organization's president, Emma Smith DeVoe (1848-1927), and a contingent of suffragists from Eastern Washington led by the organization's vice-president, May Arkwright Hutton (1860-1915), come to a head. Word of the conflict reaches local newspapers and is reported widely, embarrassing Washington suffragists and national suffrage leaders who are about to launch the 41st Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention, designed to take place during Washington's first world's fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (A-Y-P), held on the University of Washington campus.

1909-07-30 00:00:00

Washington suffragists summit Mt. Rainier to plant "Votes for Women" flag

On July 30, 1909, Dr. Cora Smith Eaton (1867-1939), photographer Asahel Curtis (1874-1941), Major E. S. Ingraham, and other summiting members of The Mountaineers 1909 expedition to Mount Rainier plant a large Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition flag with a smaller pennant bearing the motto "Votes For Women" attached to its staff at the summit of Columbia Crest on Mount Rainier. High winds snap the staff after only 15 minutes. The climbers then place the flag inside the crater, where they leave it.

1910-11-08 00:00:00

Washington Women Win the Vote

The Fifth Amendment to the Washington State Constitution giving most women the right to vote in all elections passes on November 8, 1910.

1920-03-22 00:00:00

New story 1

On March 22, 1920, in a Special Session called by Governor Louis Hart, the Washington State Legislature ratified the 19th Amendment to U.S. Constitution, known was the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment," enabling national suffrage for women. Representative Frances Haskell from Pierce County introduced the resolution and the only other woman legislator at the time, Representative Anna Colwell of Snohomish addressed the session along with suffragists Emma Smith DeVoe and Carrie Hill. Washington was the 35th of the 36 states needed to ratify the national amendment which became effective on August 26, 1920.

1920-08-18 04:04:46

19th Amendment Ratified

On June 4, 1919, Congress approved the women’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote and was ratified by the states on August 18, 1920.

Washington Women's Suffrage Centennial

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