"Legislating Citizenship in the United States: The Impact of State Building on Woman Sufferage Legislation, 1848-1918 Legislating Citizenship in the United States: The Impact of State Building on Woman Sufferage Legislation, 1848-1918
Most studies of woman suffrage explain success by concentrating on changing gender norms. While this may have explained eventual success, it overlooks barriers that existed within state governments. Only 15 states granted full woman suffrage prior to the Nineteenth Amendment, the majority of which were in the West. I argue that understanding the structure of state governments provides insight into the success of western states and also provides insight into the timing of success. I do this by moving beyond contemporary social movement theory and by adapting aspects of institutional politics theory and organizational theory. Specifically, I examine the dynamics of partisan politics, organizational characteristics of state government, and the legislative process. I find that partisan politics and organizational dynamics impact legislative success. Specifically, legislatures are more likely to pass suffrage bills in states that are more democratized, that are characterized by reform-oriented regimes, where woman suffrage advocates have a greater political presence, where there is less structural inertia, and where a smaller constitutional majority is required.
School:Brigham Young University
School Location:USA - Utah
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:woman suffrage institutional politics theory organizational state government building
Date of Publication:01/01/2002