When Women Lost the Vote
A Revolutionary Story, 1776 – 1807
Virtual exhibit coming soon...
Women voted in Revolutionary America, over a hundred years before the United States Constitution guaranteed that right to women nationally.
The 1776 New Jersey State Constitution referred to voters as "they," and statutes passed in1790 and 1797 defined voters as “he or she." This opened the electorate to free property owners, Black and White, male and female, in New Jersey. This lasted until 1807, when a new state law said only White men could vote.
What can this story of changing laws about who could vote from the earliest days of American democracy teach us about what it means to vote and what it takes to preserve and expand that right?
A newly discovered set of sources - lists of men and women, Black and White - who voted in new New Jersey between 1798 and 1807 set off our quest to find the answers.