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On this historic day, December 10, 1869, Wyoming is the first territory to grant women the right to vote.


Wyoming led the nation in granting women the right to vote on this day in history, December 10, 1869.

The then-Western territory was the first in American history to approve women’s suffrage after Wyoming lawmakers passed and signed a bill.

Still, according to History.com, part of the decision was driven by interest in free publicity — and other “unsavory” motives.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, WYOMING TERRITORY IS FORMED, PROVING WORLD LEADER IN WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE

Some men recognized the importance of women when settling the frontier, but others thought voting for women’s suffrage would strengthen conservative voting blocs, History.com reports.

In the state of Wyoming in particular, men were also driven by loneliness.

Suffrage postcard, featuring a four-star American flag, celebrating Wyoming as the first of four states to grant women full suffrage, endorsed by the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, published by the Cargill Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan , 1910.
(Ken Florey Suffrage Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In 1869, Wyoming’s population numbered more than 6,000 adult males and only about 1,000 females, reports History.com.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, AUGUST 18, 1920, THE 19TH AMENDMENT IS RATIFIED, GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE

These men hoped that the right to vote would attract more women to the state.

Other leaders of the suffrage movement — like territorial lawmaker William Bright — had more respectable intentions, according to History.com.

Title "Scene at the polls in Cheyenne," This colorized print shows a group of women lining up on the sidewalk to vote through an open window, Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, 1888.

Titled “Scene at the Ballot Box in Cheyenne”, this colorized print shows a group of women queuing on the sidewalk to vote through an open window, Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, 1888.
(Archive Edit/Getty Images)

Bright was convinced by his wife that denying women the right to vote was a gross injustice.

Territorial Secretary Edward M. Lee, meanwhile, had supported women’s suffrage for years, arguing that it was unfair that his mother should be denied the same privilege given to black men.

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Wyoming lawmakers eventually strengthened the bill in hopes it would bring their territory free national advertising.

Territorial Governor John A. Campbell signed it into law.

The territory had been formed by an act of Congress just a year earlier, on July 25, 1868.

Hon. JA Campbell, between 1860 and 1875 – politician, soldier, lieutenant colonel in the Union army, governor of the Territory of Wyoming.

Hon. JA Campbell, between 1860 and 1875 – politician, soldier, lieutenant colonel in the Union army, governor of the Territory of Wyoming.
(Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Campbell, who served as a Union officer during the Civil War, was appointed governor by President Ulysses S. Grant.

After Campbell signed the landmark bill, a list of other firsts for women soon followed, according to the Wyoming State Library.

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Louisa Swain of Laramie cast the first documented vote by a woman in the United States in the territorial election of September 6, 1870.

That same year, Esther Hobart Morris was named the first female justice of the peace in the United States – and Martha Symons Boies Atkinson became the nation’s first female bailiff.

Suffragettes carry a banner announcing that "women have the right to vote in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho" during the parade of women of all nations in New York on May 3, 1916.

Suffragettes carry a banner announcing “women have the right to vote in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho” during the Women of All Nations Parade in New York City on May 3, 1916.
(Paul Thompson/Thematic News Agency/Getty Images)

The United States did not grant women the right to vote until August 18, 1920.

It was then that the 19th Amendment was ratified into the Constitution.

“This action forged Wyoming’s place in history as an equal state,” Wyoming Secretary of State Edward Buchanan said in the 2018 reissued state constitution.

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“Half a century later, the US Constitution followed Wyoming and granted those same rights through the 19th Amendment.”

Fox News Digital’s Kerry J. Byrne contributed to this report.

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