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Women's Voting Rights

Women's suffrage was one of the most important political issues in the West from the late 1860s to 1920, and, reciprocally, the West became the nation's proving ground for women's suffrage. Historians speculate on the reasons for this symbiotic relationship. Women were a rare commodity in the West, which made attracting, keeping, and honoring them a necessity. They shared men's frontier responsibilities. They fulfilled their own traditional roles for their families and their communities. Often, they held the purse strings and thus exerted special power through “working out” as teachers and housekeepers, taking in boarders or laundry, and selling their butter and eggs. Rough, mostly male towns viewed them as the “civilizers” of the West. Women were to organize churches and schools, while men ...

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