November 6, 1917 – Women in New York Win the Right To Vote

On this day in history, the men of New York approved a constitutional amendment to allow women the right to vote. The achievement of state voting rights for women came three years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving women the vote in national elections.

Suffragists parading down Fifth Avenue, October 1917, The New York Times Photo Archives

Suffragists parading down Fifth Avenue, October 1917, The New York Times Photo Archives

The day before the vote, the New York Times published a final appeal by Carrie Chapman Catt. She exhorted readers to reflect upon the fact that “our country is fighting for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government. Vote for woman suffrage, because it is part of the great struggle toward democracy.” She added:

Remember that more than 1,000,000 of your mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts want you to vote for it, and have said so over their signatures.”

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The amendment passed the next day in spite of a New York Times editorial on the day of the vote calling the amendment “an impertinence, a distraction, a division, when the country should be united on the cardinal and sole purpose of winning the war.”

New York, the editorial continued, “has troubles enough without admitting a lot of new voters,” especially because suffragists tend to be “pacifists and enemies of preparedness.” The men are doing the fighting, it said, so therefore the men should be doing the voting.

The editorial concluded: “Be sure to vote No.” But in the end, the measure carried by more than 100,000 votes statewide.

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