Rethinking Women's Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776-1807

TitleRethinking Women's Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776-1807
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLewis, Jan Ellen
JournalRutgers Law Review

This article focuses on the 1776 New Jersey Constitution, which enfranchised not only men who met the property requirement but women as well. This piece of early American political, legal, and gender history was so exceptional that for many years historians wrote it off as an oversight or accident of wording. The article highlights the poltiical and historical context of post-Revolutionary New Jersey in order to explain how it came to define the boundaries of membership, an ongoing process which was highly malleable and responsive to internal and external trends. Lewis argues that women's brief enfranchisement in the New Jersey Constitution was not a mistake, but rather a result of Revolutionary ardor, with which Americans were trying to define the boundaries of their political communities in the aftermath of the Revolution.

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