Timeline of women's suffrage in Montana

This is a timeline of women's suffrage in Montana. The fight for women's suffrage in Montana started early, before Montana became a state. In 1887, women gained the right to vote in school board elections and on tax issues. Women fought for full, equal suffrage in the subsequent years, eventually culminating in a year-long campaign in 1914, when they became one of eleven states with equal voting rights for most women. Montana ratified the Nineteenth Amendment on August 2, 1919 and was the thirteenth state to ratify. Native American women voters did not have equal rights to vote until 1924.

Chief Eagle Cap signs a petition at the Montana League of Women Voters booth at the Montana State Fair in Helena

19th century




  • Women's suffrage is proposed during the state constitutional convention by Judge W. J. Stephens of Missoula, but it is not accepted.[2]


  • Clara McAdow requests aid for women's suffrage organization from suffragists in the east of the United States.[3]
  • March 8: Women gain the right to vote in school board elections in their own districts.[3][4]




  • Women's suffrage club formed in Helena.[7]



  • DeVoe returns to Montana to continue organizing clubs and getting more women interested in suffrage.[10]
  • November: MWSA holds their annual convention in Butte.[11]
  • November 20: Ella Knowles Haskell becomes the president of MWSA.[4]


  • November: MWSA holds their annual convention in Helena.[12]
  • Formation of an Equal Suffrage Party.[13]



  • A women's suffrage bill was introduced to the state legislature through the lobbying of Mary B. Atwater, but it never makes it out of committee.[9]
  • October: MWSA convention is held in Helena with Catt and Mary Garrett Hay attending.[16]

20th century

Jeannette Rankin, Carrie Chapman Catt and another suffragist.





  • A women's suffrage amendment is introduced in the Montana legislature, but it doesn't pass.[19]


  • Another women's suffrage amendment is introduced in the legislature, but it doesn't pass again.[19]




  • The Montana Equal Suffrage Association (MESA) is created.[22]
  • Suffragists again host a women's suffrage boot at the Montana State Fair.[21]


  • A women's suffrage bill passes in the Montana Legislature and is sent to the voters in 1914.[23]
  • Jeannette Rankin travels from Montana to Washington, D.C. by car, collecting signatures in support of women's suffrage along the way.[24]
  • October: The Montana WCTU decides to focus solely on women's suffrage for the next year.[25]
  • December: WCTU paper, Woman's Voice, starts publishing again.[25]


  • The Suffrage Daily News is published in Helena.[22]
  • January: MESA opens headquarters in Butte.[26]
  • Spring: James Lees Laidlaw and Wellington D. Rankin found a Montana chapter of the National Men's Suffrage League.[26]
  • May 2: Governor Sam Stewart declares "Woman's Day" on May 2.[27] A suffrage car parade held on Last Chance Gulch in Helena.[27]
  • June: Jeannette Rankin gives a speech at the meeting of the Montana Federation of Women's Clubs (MFWC) in Lewistown.[27] MFWC came out in support of women's suffrage.[28]
  • September 24: The Montana State Fair has a women's suffrage booth.[29][22]
  • November 3: The women's suffrage amendment passed 41,302 to 37,588.[29] Montana is now one of eleven states to give women the vote.[30]


  • January: Suffragist meeting in Helena to discuss "intelligent use of the ballot."[31] Women change the name of their suffrage groups to the Montana Good Government Association.[32]




See also


  1. Larson 1973, p. 26.
  2. Ward 1974, p. 14.
  3. Larson 1973, p. 27.
  4. "Women in Montana Politics". Exhibits at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  5. Baumler et al. 2014, p. 4.
  6. Ward 1974, p. 28.
  7. Larson 1973, p. 30.
  8. Larson 1973, p. 31.
  9. Anthony 1902, p. 798.
  10. Larson 1973, p. 32.
  11. "The Montana Woman's suffrage as-". The Butte Miner. 1896-11-06. p. 8. Retrieved 2020-10-05 via Newspapers.com.
  12. Ward 1974, p. 63.
  13. Ward 1974, p. 68.
  14. "The state convention of the Montana". Great Falls Tribune. 1898-10-19. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-10-05 via Newspapers.com.
  15. Ward 1974, p. 70.
  16. Ward 1974, p. 75.
  17. Anthony 1902, p. 801.
  18. Larson 1973, p. 34.
  19. Harper 1922, p. 361.
  20. Harper 1922, p. 361-362.
  21. Harper 1922, p. 362.
  22. "The Suffrage Daily News (Helena, Mont.) 1914-191?". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  23. Baumler et al. 2014, p. 5.
  24. "Miss Jeannette Rankin". The Missoulian. 1913-08-10. p. 12. Retrieved 2020-10-05 via Newspapers.com.
  25. Ward 1974, p. 126.
  26. Harper 1922, p. 363.
  27. Winestine 1974, p. 71.
  28. Ward 1974, p. 137.
  29. Winestine 1974, p. 73.
  30. Ward 1974, p. 144.
  31. Ward 1974, p. 150.
  32. Ward 1974, p. 151.
  33. Kohl, Martha (2019-08-02). "Montana History Revealed: Montana and the Nineteenth Amendment". Montana History Revealed. Retrieved 2020-10-04.