• Women’s Right to Vote in Wyoming

    The U.S. Constitution didn’t prohibit women’s right to vote, but it didn’t guarantee it either. Until 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, states were allowed to decide the issue. Interestingly, it wasn’t the “progressive” states of New England and the East Coast that first gave women the vote, but the states in the Wild West.

    Women’s Right to Vote in Wyoming

    • In 1869, William Bright, a saloon-keeper and politician, introduced a bill in the Wyoming House that would give women the right to vote. The bill passed and Republican Governor, John Campbell, signed it into law.
    • That fall, 69-year-old Louisa Swain became the first woman to vote in the country. She voted in Laramie, Wyoming without a single protest. The Laramie Sentinel wrote, “There was too much good sense in our community for any jeers or sneers to be seen on such an occasion.”
    • The new law even allowed women to hold office. Just one year later, Esther Morris became the first woman Justice of the Peace. Additionally, Wyoming made laws demanding equal pay for women teachers.
    • When the Wyoming Territory applied for statehood 20 years later, it included women’s right to vote as part of its Constitution. The U.S. Congress threatened to deny statehood because of this. Wyoming leaders sent a telegram to Congress that said, “We will remain out of the Union 100 years rather than come in without the women.” Congress relented and granted Wyoming statehood. In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman governor – of Wyoming.
    • Other western states quickly followed. Utah gave women the right to vote in 1870. Washington, Idaho, and Montana passed similar laws in the 1880s.


    1. Prohibit: disallowed; against the law
    2. Ratify: to pass a law

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Tobin, Declan. (2022). Women’s Right to Vote in Wyoming - American History Facts. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/womens-right-vote-wyoming/

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