John Campbell Approves The First Law Granting Women The Right To Vote

On December 10, 1869, John Campbell, Governor of the Wyoming Territory, approved the first law in U.S. history explicitly granting women the right to vote.

Commemorated in later years as Wyoming Day, the event was one of many firsts for women achieved in the Equality State.

On November 5, 1889, Wyoming voters approved the first constitution in the world granting full voting rights to women. Wyoming voters again made history in 1924 when they elected Nellie Taylor Ross as the first woman governor in the United States.

The events leading up to the passage of the 1869 suffrage law were put into motion by Esther Slack Morris, a pioneer whose ears were ringing, according to one account, with "the words of Susan B. Anthony" when she arrived in South Pass, Wyoming in 1869.

John Allen Campbell (October 8, 1835 – July 14, 1880) was a politician and officer in the U.S. Army. During the Civil War, he advanced from lieutenant to brevet brigadier general. He was appointed the first Governor of Wyoming Territory in 1869 and again in 1873. In 1875, he served as Third Assistant Secretary of State under Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.

At this point, twenty of the most influential men in the community, including all the candidates of both parties, were invited to dinner at the 'shack of Mrs. Esther Morris'…To her guests she now presented the woman's case with such clarity and persuasion that each candidate gave her his solemn pledge that if elected he would introduce and support a woman suffrage bill.”

— Woman Suffrage and Politics, the Inner Story of the Movement