1919 Special Session Woes, Part 3 | Prairie Public Broadcasting

1919 Special Session Woes, Part 3

Nov 23, 2020

When the Federal Suffrage Amendment passed in the U.S. House and Senate on June 4th, 1919, there were many calls in North Dakota for a special session so North Dakota could ratify the amendment. However, Nonpartisan League Governor Frazier did not want the expense of a special session just for the sake of suffrage.


Yet there were teasers that a special session might be called, including reports in the paper that the Governor had said as much, which he denied.
 
Finally, Governor Frazier did call a special session to convene on November 25 and specified that the first order of business was ratification of the suffrage act. Other matters of interest were outlined—though missing notably was anything relating to a question of impeachment charges to be brought against Attorney General William Langer and Secretary of State Thomas Hall, petitions of which were circulating around the state.
 
Nonetheless, upon the announcement of special session, Frazier received a wire from Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, who thanked him for taking this step on behalf of all supporters of women’s suffrage.
 
This was only the third special session called since North Dakota had become a state—and the second called by Frazier.
 
North Dakota did ratify the suffrage amendment at the special session, becoming the 20th state to do so.
 
North Dakotans also reacted as the matter was debated in North Carolina and Tennessee the following year. The “anti-league candidates for state offices in North Dakota” issued a telegram expressing their approval for suffrage and urging that the two states vote for the federal amendment. Not to be outdone, the Nonpartisan leaguers sent a telegram to Tennessee, stating, “The North Dakota legislature containing the majority of the Nonpartisan league farmers in both houses was among the first to ratify the suffrage amendment…” and although they did “not desire to be put in the position of seeming to dictate to the legislature of Tennessee,” they hoped the state would join their ranks. Tennessee did, becoming the final state needed for ratification.
 
Suffrage had been a struggle. But as James Beauchamp Clark, Speaker of the US House, said: suffrage was as “inevitable as the rising of tomorrow’s sun.”
 
Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker 

Sources:
The Oakes Times, November 13, 1919, p1
The Bismarck Tribune, November 4, 1919, p1
Ward County Independent, November 13, 1919, p6
The Bismarck Tribune, November 24, 1919, p1 and 3
The Weekly Times-Record, November 20, 1919, p7
The Bismarck Tribune, August 12, 1920, p1
The Bismarck Tribune, November 24, 1919, p8
(Quote: Bismarck Daily Tribune, June 28, 1914, p1)
https://bioguideretro.congress.gov/Home/MemberDetails?memIndex=C000437

(Sources from previous parts 1 and 2):

The Bismarck Tribune, August 11, 1919, p1 and 4
The Bismarck Tribune, June 16, 1919, p2
The Weekly-Times Record, August 28, 1919, p2
Emmons County Record, November 6, 1919
Grand Forks Herald, November 4, 1919, p3
The Bismarck Tribune, February 19, 1919, p1
The Bismarck Tribune, June 7, 1919, p1, 4
Grand Forks Herald, May 9, 1919, p1
The nonpartisan leader, Feb 3, 1919, p4
The Bismarck Tribune, Monday, June 30, 1919, p1
The Bismarck Tribune, May 9, 1919, p1