Black Friday 1869


On December 10th, 1869, the Governor of the Wyoming Territory signed a bill providing women in the territory with the right to vote. This made Wyoming the first place in the United States where woman were able to vote.

Mrs. Louisa Swan was the first woman to vote legally in the United States.


On December 10, 1869 Wyoming territory became the first place in the United States to give the women the right to vote. There was no organized suffragette movement in the Wyoming territory, but thanks to William Bright one of the 20 members of the territorial legislature, the legislature passed a bill extending the right to vote to every woman 21 years of age and over. It is said that Bright’s wife helped persuade him to take this action. At the time there were only 9,118 people living in the territory. We will never know what persuaded the legislature to agree to the provision. Some believe it was simply that they were forward thinking men, others believe they wanted to balance the votes of the newly empowered African Americans and others believe they wanted to get some publicity for their sparsely populated . The voters of the state were proud of the fact that women received the right to vote and enshrined it in their state constitution that was passed by 2/3 of the voters. When Wyoming requested statehood Congress at first balked at the idea of admitting a territory that allowed women to vote. When requested to change that provision of its constitution Wyoming responded that it would rather remain a territory for a hundred years than deny the right to vote to women. Congress relented and Wyoming became a state in 1890.