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It Seems Unfair


On this date in 1914, most news took a back seat to election results as North Dakota newspapers were full of articles about the vote held the day before. The Washburn Leader reported that two more states had voted for prohibition, bringing the total of dry states to thirteen.

The Pioneer Express of Pembina announced a Republican sweep “from ocean to ocean.” The Golden Valley Chronicle announced in a huge headline that Beach had won a vote to serve as the Golden Valley county seat.

The Devils Lake Inter-Ocean was also taken up with election results. One headline announced the success of the entire state Republican ticket. Another reported that the Democrats had held on to a majority in Congress, but by fewer seats. And one small article addressed a contentious topic of the day: women’s suffrage. Women in Montana and Nevada had won the right to vote. With the addition of those two states, women could vote in eleven states and the territory of Alaska. North Dakota rejected women’s suffrage with 55% voting no.

Readers who browsed further into the newspaper would have come across an interesting supplement sponsored by suffrage advocates. The page was titled The Day After. It stated, “It seems grossly unfair that we have to work so hard for the right of franchise when the men simply took the right.” The article pointed out that men could come to the United States from other countries, and when they became citizens they had the right to vote. But women who had been born in this country and lived here all their lives were denied the same right.

The vote was, of course, a temporary setback. The suffrage headquarters announced that campaigns would begin immediately in anticipation of the 1916 election, when women’s suffrage would once again be an issue. Indeed, the next North Dakota legislative session, in 1917, granted women the right to vote in state elections. And three years later, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, women secured the right to vote in national elections as well.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher


Washburn Leader. “Thirteen States Now on Dry List.” Washburn, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 1.

Devils Lake Inter-Ocean. “The Day After.” Devils Lake, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 8.

Devils Lake Inter-Ocean. “Entire Republican Ticket Successful.” Devils Lake, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 1.

Devils Lake Inter-Ocean. “Two of Six Win Suffrage.” Devils Lake, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 1.

Pioneer Express. “Republican Sweep.” Pembina, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 1.

Golden Valley Chronicle. "Beach Wins the County Seat!” Beach, ND. 6 November 1914. Page 1.