Woman Suffrage Makes Great Advances In 1912 Election
Woman’s suffrage, the right for women to vote, had been introduced in the mid 19th century and supported by the Populist movement of the 1890’s. The 1912 election saw the struggle catapulted to a national issue with women coming out to support presidential candidates as well as fighting for their own rights. Before 1900 4 states had given women the right to vote – Wyoming (1869), Utah (1870), Colorado (1893) and Idaho (1896) but these had small populations. In 1910 Washington then in 1911 California had joined in enfranchising women and the 6 states had 1.3 million voting women. What once had been a struggle of individual women and small groups transformed into masses of women backing candidates.
In 1912 the Republican National Committee set up committees of women in the counties of all the States where women have the ballot to work in harmony with the party representatives but did not support national suffrage for women. Theodore Roosevelt who had written his senior thesis at Harvard on the “Practicability of Equalizing Men and Women before the Law” and voted for a woman suffrage bill while serving in the New York State Assembly split from the Republicans to form the Progressive Party which made national women’s suffrage one of it’s party’s issues. The Democratic Party is the least responsive to pleas for woman suffrage. Local Democratic women’s clubs had existed for decades but were not encouraged or endorsed by the national party. The election of 1912 was the first time that the Democratic National Committee authorized and supported an appeal to women.
On November 5, 1912 women won the vote in referendums in Kansas, Oregon and Arizona though suffrage lost decisively in Wisconsin and Ohio. This now make 9 states that have given women the right to vote.
Women Suffrage lunch wagon – Oregon 1912