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Constitution was ratified. It was a difficult, fraught, and frustrating process that played out in states and state capitol buildings across the country. In Michigan, several generations of women and men devoted over seventy-five years and untold resources to the movement. Along the way, they organized multiple campaigns, celebrated some important incremental victories, and mourned many defeats. Anyone interested in learning more is strongly encouraged to check out this bibliography of materials from the Library of Michigan's open collectionsor from its Rare Book Room. Please be aware that access to the Rare Book Room is by appointment; to schedule call or librarian michigan.

Trace Step s.

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For an even more intimate learning experience, place yourself in the very spaces where many of these events tooks place. Find details on the Capitol's website. Michigan declares itself a state and writes its first state constitution, the Constitution ofin its first Capitol building, located in Detroit. Article 2, Section 1 defines the qualifiers of electors thus:. Discussions over this word must be contextualized in relationship to at least two groups of potential voters — African American and Native American men.

Michigan Legislature. Accessed January 27, This resolution ultimately did not pass. It serves as an important reminder, however, that additional restrictions were frequently proposed when bodies considered granting the right of suffrage to a ly disenfranchised group of people.

Prior to the passage of this act, women ceased to be able to lay claim to anything she brought to a marriage, including her own clothes. They all become the property of her husband.

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Similar, slightly stronger, protections would be enshrined in the Article 16, Section 5 of the Constitution of Michigan of Custom suggest that the speeches were probably attended by some members of the legislature, other state officials, and members of the public.

She frequently addressed and advocated for a of ideas considered by many to be radical, including the socialism, freethinking her preferred term for atheismthe complete abolition of slavery, and the equality of the sexes. The committee responded with a lengthy report in which they went so far as to recommend universal suffrage based on the importance of natural rights and equality, and the deeply-held American belief that government must derive its power from the consent of the governed — including women.

Convention delegates met in the second Michigan State Capitol located in Lansing in to draft a new state constitution. Not surprisingly, debates over extending the franchise to women, black men, Native men, and recent immigrants ensued. The final document granted the vote to male Native Americans who were at least twenty-one years old and did not belong to any tribe. ByMichigan women were actively ing petitions asking for the right to vote. Some couched their request in respectful and somewhat timid language, while others preferred to be blunt. From this point forward, Michigan women would submit petitions asking for — or occasionally demanding — the vote at nearly every biennial legislative session thereafter.

Some of these petitions were referred to legislative committees for discussion, while others simply languished. Lansing, MI : John A. Journal of the Senate of the State of Michigan Printers to the State,pp. Throughout the spring and summer ofa constitutional convention met in the wooden Capitol for the purpose of writing a third state constitution. They also rejected by a slimmer margin of 31 to 34 the idea of submitting the question to the voters in a separate proposal.

The document drafted did extend the franchise to African American men. This reform did not come to pass, however, as Michigan voters soundly rejected the document due, in part, to this issue. Black men in Michigan would have to wait three more years to receive their voting rights, until the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U. Constitution in February of Lansing, MI: John A. This made her the first female state officer the 19th century equivalent of a department director in the Peninsular State, and only the third female state librarian nationally.

Though delegates to the constitutional convention ultimately did not vote to enfranchise Michigan women, there was a growing sense that perhaps the time had come. Soon this group was actively lobbying the Legislature for a constitutional amendment enfranchising women, or an acknowledgement that women, as citizens, could now vote under the newly amended U.

In Marchthe group held their annual convention in Lansing, timed to coincide with the busy biennial legislative session. While the House ultimately failed to act on this resolution, they granted permission to use their Chamber in the evenings to multiple women who wished to speak on the suffrage issue. First, on Wednesday, March 1, Mrs. A trio of pro-suffrage advocates, comprised of Anthony, Judge Livermore, and Mrs. Adele Hazlett, spoke in the House the following night, the latter specifically rebutting Mrs.

According to the local Lansing State Republicana pro-suffrage newspaper, both the anti and pro speeches were well attended. Mary T. This was an extraordinary moment for the women of Michigan, who were now personally advocating for suffrage in the very rooms where the laws of Michigan were made. Yet even this direct petition failed to change the minds of the male legislature.

Lansing, MI: W. Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. History of Woman Suffrage. In the fall of a special Constitutional Commission of eighteen gubernatorial appointees met in Lansing to discuss and propose amendments to the Constitution. This time, the group met in Representatives Hall, in the Capitol itself. Over the course of two days, approximately men and women heard a lecture by Elizabeth Cady Stanton; read congratulatory letters from other state and national suffrage leaders; and began organizing a multi-tiered campaign consisting of state, county, and township level suffrage associations.

These associations would recruit and host competent lecturers, print and distribute documents, frame convincing arguments and conclusions, and fundraise for the cause. In addition, following the protocol of the time, the MSWSA would need to furnish ballots for every polling place, as actual units of government did not yet print their own.

In the months that followed, local suffrage advocates continued to meet in the wooden Capitol, which had long served Lansing as a sort of unofficial town hall. Towards the end of October, the Ingham county chapter of the Friends of Impartial Suffrage met with other likeminded area groups back in Representatives Hall. Despite the best efforts of both local and state level volunteers, the proposed amendment to the constitution failed dramatically, with 40, yes votes andno votes.

Fairlie, John A. On March 29,J. The watch had been donated to the suffrage cause by Mrs. Throughout the course of the campaign, Mrs. It remained on exhibit in the Capitol for many years. The Michigan Legislature took a tiny step towards enfranchising women when, inthey passed a new law that permitted every person twenty-one years of age and over who paid school taxes in a district to vote on all school related questions at school meetings.

In addition, parents and legal guardians of school age children who were on the local school census could vote during school meetings on questions that did not involve raising monies via taxes. Their argument was based, in part, on the fact that the Legislature had already granted women the vote at school meetings. That is a part of municipal suffrage, and quite as important a part as that of voting at town meetings. And this is admitted in the act giving them municipal suffrage at school meetings.

MESA clearly saw municipal suffrage as the next step in the march towards full female enfranchisement. Soon dozens of supportive petitions poured in to the Capitol from numerous counties. The Michigan Equal Suffrage Association met at the Capitol for its third annual convention on January 13 and 14 in They convened on the fourth floor in the rooms used by the Michigan Pioneer Society while the Legislature met in their chambers two floors down.

Doe had also presided at an organizational meeting of local Lansing area suffragists in the Pioneer Rooms the March. Anna Howard Shaw and Susan B. They were both granted the use of the House Chamber where they spoke on January 13 and 14th, respectively. For Shaw, the event must have seemed like a homecoming of sorts, as she had spent much of her youth in rural Michigan. Shaw eventually received both her to preach in the Methodist Protestant Church and then her M. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, about forty women attended.

Eaglesfield made the rather startling assertion that the decision of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the two measures would not be based upon the merits of the case, but would depend solely upon what the justices had eaten for breakfast and the condition of their digestion. By a vote of 58 to 34 the House passed a bill that granted women citizens the right to vote in municipal school, village, and city elections. The Senate, however, proved to be less liberal. The same bill failed on a 10 to 13 vote on the other side of the building.

Vol II. Lansing, MI: Darius D. Thorp, State Printer and Binder,pp. Suffrage supporters in Michigan resolved to try again during the spring of Some, like the Crystal Grange No. On February 10 their blunt, matter-of-fact petition was read into the House Journal. Many women, however, were not bold enough to ask for full suffrage.

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Women, as the keepers of morality and virtue, could and should use their positions to advocate for a series of progressive reforms, including better education, healthcare, and sanitation. Along the way, they carefully and tactfully raised awareness about several decidedly complicated issues. Some advocated for increased job opportunities for women, thereby hoping to decrease the of girls and women forced into prostitution.

They lobbied the state to build a separate reform school for girls and made sure that women were hired to staff it, so as to avoid potential misconduct and exploitation. Many labored long and hard to limit access to alcohol, all too aware that substance abuse promulgated hunger, abuse, and could kill. Some bold women even ed their names on petitions to raise the age of consent or lengthen the sentences of criminals convicted of rape.

These women had convictions. Many of them believed that, as women, it was their God-given duty to protect their families and shield their homes and communities from an increasingly licentious and sinful culture. They prayed, volunteered, worked, and donated money and endless hours to important and sometimes controversial causes. They also used their voices in the Capitol, where they continued to petition and lobby elected officials on a of issues. House and Senate Legislative Journals from this period include an increasing of requests and demands from women clearly frustrated by the lack of legal protections for women and children.

But the votes still were not there. In May the Senate defeated another municipal suffrage bill by one excruciating vote, 15 to This time, Rev. Caroline Bartlett Crane and Rev. Anna Howard Shaw spoke in the Senate Chamber. Presumably the women chose this chamber, the smaller of the two, in acknowledgement that the Senate had been the biggest stumbling block in the state legislative process thus far.

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The tide finally began to turn later that spring. Once again, a bill was introduced that granted municipal suffrage to Michigan women. This time, however, it came with a serious caveat. Any interested woman would have to prove her fluency and literacy by reading at least one section of the constitution before the board of registration.

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