LESS THAN FULLY
Nebraska could have been the first
state in the Union to allow women the vote.
A suffrage bill passed in the lower house of the territorial
legislature in 1856, but failed in the upper house. Wyoming gave
women the vote in 1869. Nebraska, with the help of suffrage leaders
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, did become the second
state to allow women to vote in school district elections. Yet
three times Nebraska voters, led by religious and anti-prohibition
groups, voted down proposed women's suffrage: 1882, 1891, and
1914. A limited-suffrage act passed in 1917, but by the time
court challenges to it were complete, the 19th Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution took effect. At last women citizens could vote
Suffragist Susan B. Anthony made
several trips to Nebraska.
Suffrage float. Ca. 1910.
Suffragists Mrs. Howes and Mrs. Haller
and the two Haller boys with their dogs. Date unknown.
National American Women Suffrage Association convention,
Anti-suffragists circulated this card in 1914. They would leave such cards in envelopes on the
porches of prominent suffrage advocates. Whether the text is
from an actual speech given in Omaha or it was fabricated by
anti-suffragists is unknown.
"Call on God, my
dear. She will help you."
Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont, about
Rights Amendment: 1972-1982
In 1972, Nebraska became the second
state to ratify the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S.
of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any State on account of sex."
Months later, Senator Richard Proud of
Omaha announced that Nebraska women had overwhelmed his office
with letters requesting Nebraska rescind its support of the amendment.
Spurred by national anti-ERA groups such as Happiness of Motherhood
Eternal (HOME), Females Opposed to Equality (FOE), anti-ERA leader
Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, and the Ku Klux Klan, Proud claimed
the ERA would require women to register for the military draft,
force women to forfeit any right to their husband's pension money
in the event of his death, prevent legal recourse against rape,
diminish family values by forcing women to work outside the home,
and require unisex bathrooms.
After weeks of heated protest from both
sides, Nebraska became the first of five states to rescind its
ratification on March, 15, 1973.Though the legality of the rescission
was questioned, it reflected the conflicting values and beliefs
Picketers supporting and opposing the Equal Rights Amendment
packed the State Capitol rotunda during debate on rescinding
ratification of the ERA, which had been ratified in 1972 with
Nebraska became the first state to
make marital rape illegal in 1975.
The statute formerly said sexual assault was not criminal if
the victim was a legal spouse, unless the couple was living apart
or had filed for divorce. Nebraska led the nation; the last state
to make marital rape illegal was North Carolina in 1993.