The other day I was talking to a relative, who told me she thought women shouldn't vote, because we think a certain way that is unproductive in political causes. We want to give too much, is the way she explained it. Government is not for giving or taking care of people, it is for the limited amount of governing that the American People need, which shouldn't involve welfare or anything else.
I understand her political viewpoint, though I object to her assumptions (that women inherrently vote in favor of welfare and also tend to vote unwisely.) And as I was listening (respectfully) to what she had to say, a thought came to my mind.
When did women in Utah get the right to vote?
Women's Suffrage--the right of women to vote--was won twice in Utah. It was granted first in 1870 by the territorial legislature but revoked by Congress in 1887 as part of a national effort to rid the territory of polygamy. It was restored in 1895, when the right to vote and hold office was written into the constitution of the new state.
Who was the first woman senator ever elected?
In a much publicized election, [Hattie Hughes]Cannon was one of five Democrats running as "at large" candidates for state senator from Salt Lake County. Suffrage activist Emmeline B. Wells and Cannon's husband Angus were among the Republicans standing for the office.
“ "Local newspapers gave play to the fact that a leading Mormon polygamist was defeated by his fourth wife. The Salt Lake Tribune, proponent of the Republican view, editorialized that Angus Munn Cannon was deserving of readers' votes. The Salt Lake Herald, a Democratic newspaper, countered: "Mrs. Mattie Hughes Cannon, his wife, is the better man of the two. Send Mrs. Cannon to the State Senate and let Mr. Cannon, as a Republican, remain at home to manage home industry" (see link, SL Tribune). ”
One of my favorite feminists, and a real hero of mine: Emmeline B. Wells, the Fifth General Relief Society President of the church. Some interesting facts:
1) She was formally educated and bright from a young age. Took her first teaching job at age 15, shortly before she married for the first time.
2) Her husband left her after their first baby died. She resumed teaching and became the third wife of Newel K. Whitney, and had two little girls by him.
3) After Whitney died, she proposed marriage (how feminist is that!) to Daniel H. Wells, becoming his seventh wife. At first they didn't really know each other well or associate, but in later years of their life they loved each other dearly and enjoyed each others' companionship.
4) Edited the Womens' Exponent, the first successful Women's magazine in Utah.
5) Joined the Suffrage movement and wrote extensively on women and the amazing things they had to offer our country. Wrote extensively about how education for women is so important.
6) Eventually became respected and quoted by such people as Susan B. Anthony and other leaders of the Suffrage movement.
7) Ran for the senate as a republican, was beaten by the first women ever to be elected a Senator in the United States, Martha Hughes Cannon.
8) Was appointed General Relief Society President at age 82, served for ten years until her death. Go read up on her life
and you'll see exactly what she was, and what the cause can add to the church and the gospel, and what a stunningly beautiful thing such a woman is.
Labels: feminism, Mormon culture, politics