History of the American Nation, Volume 6

Author: William James Jackman

Chapter 112:
Woman Suffrage

Adoption of Women Suffrage in Illinois.—Campaign Conducted in Orderly Manner.—Officers for Whom Women may Vote.—Control of Taxing, License and Money Expending Officials.—Ten States now Recognize the Equality of Women as Voters.—Seventeen Others Give Them Suffrage in a Restricted Way.—Processions in Honor of the Victory Held in Chicago and Other Cities.—Women Appointed as Police Officers.

Illinois was the last of the states to date to give women the right to vote. The legislature toward the end of its session in 1913 (June 11) adopted an act to this effect, and it was approved by Governor Dunne. Previous to this women could vote only for school officers. Now they can cast a ballot, for all candidates except those the election of whom is otherwise provided for. According to the text of the bill women in Illinois may now vote for the following:

Presidential electors, member of the state board of equalization, clerk of the appellate court, county collector, county surveyor, members of board of assessors, members of board of review, sanitary district trustees, and for all officers of cities, villages and towns (except police magistrate), and upon all questions or propositions submitted to a vote of the electors of such municipalities or other political divisions of the state.

All women qualified as voters may also vote for the following township officers: Supervisors, town clerk, assessors, collector, and highway commissioner and may also participate and vote in all annual and special town meetings in the town in which such election district shall be.

Separate ballot boxes and ballots shall be provided for women, which ballots shall contain the names of the candidates for such offices which are to be voted for and candidates for the special questions submitted as aforesaid, and the ballots cast by women shall be canvassed with the other ballots cast for such officers and on such questions. At any such election where registration is required women shall register in the same manner as male voters.

This was the result of a long, energetic campaign by the women. Unlike their English sisters they did not resort to militant methods. Everything was conducted in an orderly manner. The women conducted their campaign on the line of moral suasion. They did not gain all they expected, as there are some offices election to which is expressly provided for by the constitution. These include:

United States senate. Members of congress. Members of legislature. Governor. Lieutenant governor. Secretary of state. State auditor of public accounts. State treasurer. Superintendent of public instruction. Attorney general. Judges of supreme, appellate, circuit, superior, probate and criminal courts and clerks of these courts. Justices of the peace and police magistrates. Constables State’s attorney. County commissioners. County judge. County clerk. Sheriff. County treasurer. Coroner. Recorder of deeds.

The women feel, however, that they have won an important victory. They have the right to vote for the taxing officials and for the city, town, and village officers. This is all they asked. For years women have maintained that it was unjust to tax their property without giving them an opportunity to express a preference in the selection of the taxing officers. They now also may vote for aldermen and village trustees who control the issuance of licenses, and the expenditure of public moneys raised by taxation. It is reasonable to suppose that there will be a reform in this direction as a better class of men will undoubtedly be elected to office.

Ten states are now on record as giving women a practically unrestricted right to vote. These are:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Restricted woman suffrage also obtains in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin. All this has been won by peaceful methods, wherein lies a forceful lesson for the English suffragettes who are trying to win by force.

Following the adoption of the bill the suffragettes held a large procession in Chicago and other cities. The men also began to recognize them as a power to be reckoned with. Mayor Harrison, of Chicago, appointed ten women members of the police force.

Governor Dunne is said to have been largely influenced in the signing of the act by his wife who is an ardent suffragette.


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Chicago: William James Jackman, "Chapter 112: 1913 Woman Suffrage," History of the American Nation, Volume 6 in William J. Jackman, Jacob H. Patton, and Rossiter Johnson. History of the American Nation, 9 Vols. (Chicago: K. Gaynor, 1911), Pp.1906-1912 Original Sources, accessed July 22, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=9A7ED6332LT1FDN.

MLA: Jackman, William James. "Chapter 112: 1913 Woman Suffrage." History of the American Nation, Volume 6, in William J. Jackman, Jacob H. Patton, and Rossiter Johnson. History of the American Nation, 9 Vols. (Chicago: K. Gaynor, 1911), Pp.1906-1912, Original Sources. 22 Jul. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=9A7ED6332LT1FDN.

Harvard: Jackman, WJ, 'Chapter 112: 1913 Woman Suffrage' in History of the American Nation, Volume 6. cited in , William J. Jackman, Jacob H. Patton, and Rossiter Johnson. History of the American Nation, 9 Vols. (Chicago: K. Gaynor, 1911), Pp.1906-1912. Original Sources, retrieved 22 July 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=9A7ED6332LT1FDN.