The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. 

Abigail Scott Duniway



Women registering to vote in San Francisco, CA, Library of Congress. 

Woman Suffrage in the West

At first, the American Woman Suffrage Association’s strategy seemed promising as women started to win the right to vote state by state. The earliest suffrage victories were in the west. The territory of Wyoming granted women the vote in 1869, the same year as the founding of the two national suffrage organizations. When Wyoming became a state in 1890, the new government continued to allow women to vote. Three years later, Colorado became the next woman suffrage state. Utah and Idaho followed in 1896.

Suffragists from all over the country traveled to states considering new suffrage laws to advocate for their cause. They joined locals in their campaign to win the vote. In the 1890s, the rise of the Populist Party—a national political party that supported women’s rights—increased local support for woman suffrage in these states.

No new states granted woman suffrage between 1896 and 1910, but suffrage wins in Washington (1910) and California (1911) sparked new life in the suffrage movement’s state campaigns.

By Allison Lange, Ph.D.
Fall 2015


Essential Questions

  • How did woman suffrage in western states affect the rest of the suffrage movement?
  • Why did western states win the vote earlier tan others?
  • How did campaigns for suffrage in states that won it early compare to later campaigns?
  • What was US culture's view of women's roles?

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