Author: Michael

The Vote of Women

The Vote of Women

‘Votes for women!’ — 110 years ago marked the first time in California history that women voted under the direct supervision of trained school teachers

In the 1870s, some California women were able to vote for the first time, thanks to the direct supervision of trained and literate school teachers. One of the most prominent in this movement was Julia Tuttle of San Francisco. After reading up on the subject, Tuttle decided it would be a good idea to teach elementary school. Tuttle made the first public declaration of her intentions in The Daily Alta California, on November 11, 1873. “Why should I stand aloof from the ballot of the people?” asked Tuttle.

“Would it hurt your self-respect to vote,” asked the Daily Alta’s Mary H. Holmes, “since you don’t belong to the class to which it really appeals?”

“No,” Tuttle replied, “for the ballot is for all.”

“Oh, would you vote?” Holmes asked Tuttle

“Yes,” Tuttle replied. “I am on the side of the people and I want to be in their hands and I want what they give me.”

“This ballot is for all?” Holmes asked again.

“For all,” replied Tuttle.

Tuttle wanted to get involved in politics because she believed schoolteachers should be involved with politics and issues that affect their students and their schools, that they should be involved with the education of children and with public issues of the time. Tuttle believed that education should be a public endeavor and that it shouldn’t be in the hands of men or paid employees. Tuttle thought that education should not be the purview of “the man above.”

The next day, the Daily Alta published a full-page ad in order to publicize Tuttle’s views on the ballot and her commitment to “the principle of universal suffrage.” “The vote of women,” read the ad, “is a vote of the people” and its importance should be “recognized.” Tuttle’s ad, written with the help of prominent lawyer and educator John S. Dwight, was an early example of the modern-day feminist discourse on election issues. It was a way for Tuttle to get her message out, to demonstrate her respect for and commitment to the women she had worked

Leave a Comment