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Book of the Week — Woman Suffrage in Utah

“The franchise conferred by a theocracy, exercised in dominance, made to conserve its power, to perpetuate polygamous life, and to clothe lawlessness with authority, is not the franchise of a Christian republic.”

Woman Suffrage in Utah
Angelia French Thurston Newman (1837-1910)
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886
JK1911 U8 N48 1886

This petition was presented to the United States Senate by Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont, namesake of the Edmunds Act, in response to a “Memorial” written by a committee of Utah women and delivered to Congress. The petition was signed by Angie F. Newman (1837-1910), an influential Methodist opponent of Mormonism from Vermont.  In her petition, Newman claimed that she was an eyewitness to the rally on March 6 which led to the resolutions outlined in the “Memorial,” “as an eyewitness of the ceremonies at the theater meeting; as a long and close observer of the effect of female suffrage in Utah; having definite personal knowledge of the Gentile sentiment touching this question; as a member of the committee who drafted and circulated the petitions…asking the repeal of the act conferring the elective franchise upon the women of Utah…”

“This attempt to repeal the Territorial act which confers the franchise upon the women of the Territory of Utah has been interpreted by its opponents as a subversion of the great principles of civil equality — as retrogression in politics — as formulating civil disabilities on the basis of religious belief.”

Emmeline Wells wrote a rebuttal that was published in the Woman’s Exponent on July 15, 1886.


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