The New Jersey Exception

March 29, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Beginning in 1776, women could vote in New Jersey. That is, if they were single and worth at least 50 pounds. It was not unusual for states to restrict voting to those with property. It was unusual to allow women the vote, so much so that some historians believed it a loophole, rather than the intent of the state. The law mentioned only "individuals," without reference to gender. But in 1797 New Jersey made the inclusion of women clear by using he or she in the language of the statue. For the very first time women were specifically allowed to vote

In 1807, New Jersey took voting rights away from women and free blacks, but extended the right to poor white men.

 


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