Arthur Denny proposes white-woman suffrage amendment in the Territorial Legislature's first session on February 28, 1854.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 2/16/2003
  • Essay 5211

In 1854, Arthur Denny (1822-1899), one of the founders of Seattle, proposes an amendment  at the first session of the territorial legislature "to allow all white females over the age of 18 years to vote." It is defeated by a single vote. Lawmakers make a small concession, granting every taxpaying inhabitant over 21 years of age the right to vote in school elections.

Historian Edmond Meany speculated that the bill might have passed if Indian wives of white men had been included. At least one of the naysayers was married to a Native American woman.


Mildred Tanner Andrews, Washington Women as Path Breakers (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1989), 3; T. A. Larson, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Washington," Pacific Northwest Quarterly Vol. 67, No. 2 (April, 1976), 42.

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