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Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains

Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains


$34.95, Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-941813-26-3


"The story of woman suffrage has long been told from the national perspective. . . Equality at the Ballot Box approaches woman suffrage in a novel way by examining its history within a regional framework. This perspective illuminates how geography and a sense of place shaped woman suffrage and the ways in which local events and efforts resonated regionally and nationally and vice versa. . . Equality at the Ballot Box not only deepens our understanding about the woman suffrage movement and experiences within and beyond the northern Great Plains but also provides generative discussions about future research."—Minnesota History

"This rich and timely volume situates the struggle for the vote in the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming in a regional frame, surveying the impressive scope of women's organizing while recovering key figures. . . . Equality at the Ballot Box suggests a distinct regional culture of reform agitation that shaped the struggles for civic equality and social change on the northern Great Plains."—North Dakota History

"Equality at the Ballot Box provides a compelling history of woman suffrage in the Northern Great Plains and enhances our understanding of how the politics of woman suffrage influenced regional and national conceptions of democracy and citizenship."—Annals of Iowa

“Essential for understanding the larger picture of woman suffrage . . . A masterpiece of collective scholarship, Equality at the Ballot Box is . . . original, seminal and unreservedly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review

"Equality at the Ballot Box makes an important contribution to western women’s history and the history of woman suffrage. . . . [This anthology] is both an informative overview and a composite mosaic of suffrage on the northern plains that raises new questions for future research, for which this volume lays essential groundwork."—Elizabeth Jameson, professor emeritus of history at University of Calgary and past president of the Western History Association

"The authors have dug deep into the archives, scoured newspapers, and searched secondary sources for materials. . . . A focus on the importance of the Northern Great Plains is long overdue."—Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, historian for the NASA Johnson Space Center

“Ladies, prepare your ballots.”

Cheyenne Leader, 6 Dec. 1869

On 10 December 1869, the governor of Wyoming Territory signed the first full woman suffrage bill in the history of the United States. Suffragists in the neighboring territories of Montana and Dakota believed their prospects were similarly bright. Over the next twenty years, however, organizers’ efforts to secure votes for women met only limited success. While suffragists hoped the territories’ respective bids for statehood in 1889 and 1890 would change their fortunes, only Wyoming enshrined voting rights for all in its state constitution.

The fight for full woman suffrage on the Northern Great Plains would take another three decades. In Equality at the Ballot Box, editors Lori Ann Lahlum and Molly P. Rozum have compiled a set of original essays that illuminate key aspects of the movement. Here, scholars uncover previously untold stories of the women who traveled immense distances to win over a diverse, often contentious public. Essential for understanding the larger picture of woman suffrage, including the significance of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, school suffrage, and the anti-suffrage movement, this volume reveals the impact this isolated, rural region had on women’s rights nationwide.

The contributors to Equality at the Ballot Box build upon classic woman suffrage scholarship and develop new ideas that capture the spirit of suffrage on the Northern Great Plains. For the first time, the region’s unique circumstances are considered, including significant populations of European immigrants and American Indians as well as harsh climates and sprawling landscapes. By turning scholarly attention to this understudied area, Lahlum and Rozum start a long-needed conversation and point to rich avenues for further exploration.

Kristin Mapel Bloomberg
Ann W. Braaten
Sara Egge
Cody Dodge Ewert
Dee Garceau
Barbara Handy-Marchello
Jennifer Helton
Jennifer J. Hill
Ruth Page Jones
Kelly Kirk
Renée M. Laegreid
Lori Ann Lahlum
Amy L. McKinney
Paula M. Nelson
Kelly O’Dea
Molly P. Rozum


About the Editors


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