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Woman Suffrage And Statutory Rights, Prohibition

( Originally Published 1918 )



WOMAN SUFFRAGE

The national suffrage amendment, originally drafted by Susan B. Anthony in 1875, and first introduced in Congress on January 10, 1878, was adopted by a two-thirds vote of the House of Representatives January 10, 1918. It, however, failed of adoption by the Senate, and the measure was thereby defeated.

On the first day of the special session of the 66th Congress, May 19, 1919, Representative James R. Mann, of Illinois, re-introduced the resolution in the House and on May 21 it was adopted by a vote of 304 to 88, the necessary two-thirds total being but 262.

In the Senate a stubborn fight was made to de-lay the adoption of the resolution, but this was unsuccessful, and on June 4, 1919, it was adopted by a vote of 56 to 25, or two votes more than the necessary two-thirds.

Constant efforts were then made to secure the ratification by enough state legislatures to permit the women of all the states to vote at the presidential election in 1920. Illinois was the first state to ratify, and the others followed in rapid succession, the struggle in Tennessee being particularly bitter, where it was ratified and such action certified to Washington only later to have the House rescind its action in which the State Senate refused to concur. But as Connecticut later ratified the amendment, the question as to the validity of the action in Tennessee became unimportant, and even in advance of such action the Secretary of State promulgated the ratification on August 26, 1920.

Text of the Amendment.裕he following is the text of the amendment:

ARTICLE XIX

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

By this action the struggle of the women for suffrage, begun in 1875, was won.

STATUTORY RIGHTS OF WOMEN

Alabama.有egal age 21; all property acquired and all earnings are separate property; may sue and be sued in respect of separate property; not liable for husband's debts; may make a will; can not convey lands by deed unless husband joins; may do business on her own account upon filing husband's assent; has dower interest in one-third of husband's property if at his death she has no separate property. If there be no children and if the estate be solvent, she is entitled to one-half, but if her separate estate is equal to the dower, she cannot claim dower; if less than the dower, she is entitled to as much as added to separate estate would equal the dower. If she dies in-testate, half her separate estate and the use of the rest for life go to her husband.

Alaska.有egal age 21, or as soon as married. Can make contracts on her own account. Not liable for husband's debts. All property acquired by wife is her separate estate, but she must record a list of her property. Husband not liable for wrong acts of wife. Wife has interest in and up to one-third of real estate left by deceased husband.

Arizona.有egal age of married women. 18; others 21. May use and dispose of her own property without consent of husband, provided such property was acquired before marriage, or after marriage by gift, devise or descent. Property otherwise acquired may be disposed of by husband, but wife must join in any document of transfer. No dower or courtesy rights. On death of husband or wife, the survivor takes one-third of personal property and one-third of real estate for life, the other one-third goes to children if any. If no children, survivor takes all personal property, and one-half the real estate. If property is common, survivor takes one-half, the children one-half. If no children, survivor takes all. Wife may sue and be sued; carry on business; make contracts concerning her separate property with-out binding the husband. Dower interest, one-third of husband's property. If no children, one-half. Cannot act as executrix.

California.有egal age 18; all property acquired before or after marriage is separate property of wife; property jointly acquired is man-aged by husband, but he cannot convey unless wife joins. Wife may dispose of her separate property without consent of husband. May sue and be sued in respect of her separate property. No dower nor courtesy rights. Property held in common is liable for the debts of either. Wife may insure husband's life for her own benefit.

Colorado.有egal age 18; all property acquired except from her husband may be sold or managed by wife. No dower nor courtesy rights. If no children, survivor takes all. If children, one-half. Wife can make will but cannot devise husband's one-half without his consent. May sue and be sued in respect of her separate property. May make contracts and do business as if unmarried.

Connecticut.有egal age 21. When married can act as trustee, guardian, administratrix or executrix. May make contracts and sue and be sued, and convey property as though unmarried. Not liable for husband's debts. Has no interest in husband's property. Husband's will cannot de-feat dower rights. In case of devise in husband's will, wife may elect whether to accept the bequest or the dower.

Delaware.有egal age 21. Property rights as in Connecticut. May make contracts, sue and be sued. May purchase real estate as if unmarried. May mortgage her real estate without consent of husband. May dispose of her property by will. Not liable for husband's debts. If no children, she has life interest in one-half the husband's estate. If children, one-third.

District of Columbia.有egal age 18. Separate property rights as in Connecticut, but until she is 21 the wife can not convey unless the husband joins, but she may bequeath her property any time after the age of 18. Not liable for husband's debts. Wife has life interest in husband's lands unless she has released her dower interest in them.

Florida.有egal age 21. A married woman can not make contracts respecting her separate property unless joined by husband. If licensed by a court to do so, she may do business, manage her separate property, sue and be sued, as if unmarried. Husband has management of wife's separate property, but cannot charge for his services; wife cannot sue husband for rents and profits accruing from separate property under his control. Is liable for husband's debts unless she records an inventory of her separate property with county clerk within six months after marriage, or after acquisition of property. Husband must join in deed conveying property. May dispose of her property by will. Dower is provided as at common law, but wife may reject ddwer rights and take a child's share of the estate, subject to the payment of debts.

Georgia.有egal age 21, though may marry and make a will at 14. Property acquired before or after marriage is her separate property and not liable for debts of husband. May sue and be sued in respect of her separate property; may sell or convey to husband or assume liability for his debts. May engage in business with consent of husband, which has been advertised four weeks. Common law dower in lands owned by husband at time of his death. Widow may take a child's portion instead of dower.

Idaho.--Legal age 18. Property owned before marriage or acquired after- marriage out of her separate proceeds belong to wife. As evidence of title thereto a list of her property should be filed with the county recorder. Husband has control of wife's property, but cannot mortgage or dispose of it without her consent. If he mismanages she may have a trustee appointed in his stead. All other property acquired by husband or wife after marriage is common property, but the husband has control. Husband may dispose of property excepting the homestead without the wife joining in the deed. On death of either husband or wife one-half their common property goes to the survivor if there be children. If no children, survivor takes all.

Illinois.有egal age 18. Property obtained through gift, devise, descent or purchase is her separate property which she may manage and convey. May make contracts, sue and be sued, as if unmarried, but cannot engage in partnership without consent of husband. Not liable for husband's debts. Personal earnings are her own and she may sue to recover them. With husband's consent she may act as executrix. Courtesy rights abolished. Either has a life interest in one-third of the real estate left at the death of the other.

Indiana.有egal age 21. Separate estate as in Illinois. May make contracts, sue and be sued, but cannot convey real estate unless joined by husband. May sell personal property and dispose of real estate by will. Husband not liable for debts contracted for her separate estate. No dower or courtesy rights. A widow is entitled as against creditors to $500, either in goods or money, and to one-third of the real estate if it does not exceed $10,000; one-fourth if it does not exceed $20,000; and one-fifth if it exceeds $20,000. As against husband's relations she is entitled to $500 in money and one-third of all his property if there be more than one child; one-half if there be but one child; if no children and one of the husband's parents survive him, the widow takes all the estate if it is less than $1,000; if over that amount, three-fourths. If no parents nor children she takes all.

Iowa.有egal age 18, but may marry at 14, in which case she becomes of age at that time. A wife may manage or dispose of her own property no matter how acquired, without the consent of her husband. May make contracts, sue and be sued, in her own name. Not liable for debts of husband; personal earnings belong to her, but she is jointly liable with her husband for the edu- <> cation of children and for family expenses. Has an equal right in the homestead. On death of husband has the right to one-third of his real estate. Dower and courtesy rights abolished.

Kansas.有egal age 18. Owns and controls all property acquired after or before marriage, and may dispose of it without consent of husband. May make contracts respecting it on which she may sue and be sued. May engage in business and retain her personal earnings. Not liable for husband's debts. Dower and courtesy rights abolished. If husband dies intestate and there are no children she takes all. If husband by will de-prives wife of more than one-half of his estate, she may choose between the will and the one-half allowed by law.

Kentucky.-Legal age 21. Property rights the same as in Kansas excepting that the husband must join in conveying real estate. If husband fails to provide for her may be imprisoned for more than one year or be adjudged insane. Gifts passing between husband and wife must be entered of record. Has a life interest in one-third of the real property of husband, and one-half interest in his personal property. If there are no children, and the husband dies, she takes the whole in fee simple.

Louisiana.有egal age 21, or as soon as she is married. Husband may manage and control her separate property and earnings. Property acquired during marriage excepting by gift, devise or inheritance is owned jointly, and the proceeds thereof share equally. May engage in business, and her husband is bound by her contracts as long as they hold property in common. Cannot sell or mortgage separate property without husband's consent. Not liable for debts of husband. On death of husband, has life interest in the whole property held in common, unless there are children, in which case she has only one-half interest until she dies or remarries. Husband and wife may convey to each other. Wife may dispose of property by will. If husband leaves her, she may, by permission of the court, act as if unmarried.

Maine.有egal age 21, but may marry at the age of 18 without consent of parents or guardian. All property acquired before or after marriage is her sole possession, except that which is purchased with the husband's money. May engage in business, sue and be sued, and is liable for separate debts from which the husband's property is exempt. Husband is not liable for her debts contracted before marriage. Dower and courtesy rights abolished. Widow has a life interest in one-third of estate if there are children, and to one-half if there are no children. Husband may convey property to wife, but only for a valid consideration, and not for the purpose of concealing his assets from his creditors. May bind husband on contracts if he leaves the state without providing for her support, or if he is imprisoned.

Maryland.有egal age 18, or at marriage. All property no matter when acquired is her separate property and not subject to her husband's debts. May sell or dispose of personal property at will, but in selling real estate husband must join in the deed. May go into business, make contracts, sue and be sued in respect to her separate property. Income of such property and personal earnings belong to her absolutely. Has a life interest in one-third of husband's real estate if there are children, and one-half if there are none.

Massachusetts.有egal age 21. All property acquired at any time is her separate property. May make contracts respecting it, and may sell or convey real estate, but husband must join in the deed. Husband and wife cannot convey to each other. May go into business, but must make full declaration to the town clerk concerning such business, otherwise husband would be liable for its debts. Dower as at common law, except that if no children, wife takes real estate in fee not to exceed $5000 value, and also one-half for life of the remainder of deceased husband's estate.

Michigan.有egal age 21, but may marry at 16. Property acquired at any time is her own separate property and not subject to debts of husband. May sell and convey property as if unmarried; may enter into contracts; may go into business at any time after the age of 21. May sue and be sued. Husband not liable for her separate debts. May make a will and is entitled to dower as at common law. Courtesy abolished.

Minnesota.有egal age 18. All her property, whenever acquired, is her separate property. Not liable for debts of husband. May make con-tracts, engage in business and convey realty with-out husband's consent. Cannot convey to, nor receive real estate from, husband. May sue and be sued and must join in conveyance with husband. Widow has life interest in homestead if children; if no children, then in fee. Also one-third interest in fee of remaining real estate, subject to debts. May make a will, but cannot deprive husband of his dower.

Mississippi.有egal age 21. All property acquired at any time is her separate property, but in disposing of it husband must join in the deed or mortgage. May make contracts and sue or be sued. Not liable for husband's debts. Husband not liable for her debts. May engage in business, but in doing so becomes liable with husband for family expenses. Husband may convey to wife, but not to defraud creditors. Widow takes an equal share of estate with the children. If no children, takes all. May dispose of her separate property by will.

Missouri.有egal age 18. All property acquired before or after marriage is her separate property, respecting which she may make con-tracts, engage in business, sue and be sued. Separate income belongs to her, but is liable for family expenses. Cannot dispose of separate property without consent of husband. Not liable for husband's debts. May make a will but cannot therein affect the right of husband, who is entitled to courtesy as she is to common law dower.

Montana.有egal age 21. All property owned before marriage, and all acquired after marriage by gift, devise or inheritance is her separate property; not subject to debts of husband. Must record realty with the county clerk. After such recording she may make contracts with husband or others. May sue and be sued. Neither husband nor wife has an interest in the property of the other, but wife must assist husband in supporting the family if he is unable. Liable for necessaries for herself and children under 18.

Can make a will but cannot devise more than one-third of her property without husband's consent. If there are children, surviving husband or wife takes one-third of the property. If no children, one-half.

Nebraska.有egal age 18, or 16 if married. All property except such as is given by husband is the wife's separate property, in respect to which she may make contracts, engage in business, sue and be sued. Neither wife nor husband is liable for the debts of the other. Separate earnings belong to her. She may dispose of her property by will or conveyance, but realty can only be conveyed by husband joining in the deed. Widow has use for life of one-third of all property owned by husband.

Nevada.有egal age 18. All property held be-fore marriage or acquired after marriage by gift, devise or descent is separate property, which she may convey without consent of husband. May make contracts, sue and be sued in respect of her separate property. Property acquired by husband or wife after marriage except by gift, devise or descent, is their common property, and husband has exclusive management and control. Husband may dispose of such common property, but both must join in deed or mortgage on the homestead. May make contract with husband.

On husband's death widow takes all unless there are children, or if husband has disposed of some of the property by will, widow takes one-half.

New Hampshire.有egal age 21. Property acquired at any time is her separate property, and not liable for debts of husband. May make contracts, but not with husband. May engage in business, sue and be sued, as if unmarried. Personal earnings belong to her. Husband not liable for debts incurred by wife before marriage. Each may convey property to the other. Husband has courtesy in estate of the wife. Widow is entitled to so much of the husband's real estate as will produce a yearly income equal to one-third of what his total annual income was.

New Jersey.-Legal age 21. Property acquired before marriage, or after marriage by gift, devise or descent, is the wife's separate property; not subject to debts of the husband. Personal earnings belong to her. May make contracts, en-gage in business, sue and be sued, as if unmarried. May make a will but cannot deprive husband of his courtesy rights, nor convey or mortgage real estate without the husband joining unless he has failed to provide for her and they are living apart, in which case she may convey without him. Dower as at common law.

New Mexico.有egal age 21. May marry at 18 without consent of parents. Property acquired in any manner before or after marriage is her separate property. Not liable for husband's debts except necessary family expenses. In respect of her separate property may make con-tracts, engage in business, sue and be sued. Neither wife nor husband can convey property acquired during marriage by gift, devise or de-scent without the other joining in conveyance, nor can more than one-half of such property be disposed by will of either. On death of either, if there are no children, the survivor takes every-thing; if there are children, survivor takes one-half of the property which was acquired during marriage by gift, devise or descent; and one-fourth of the other property unless previously disposed of by will.

North Carolina.有egal age 21. All property acquired by her at any time is her separate property, not liable for debts of husband. Husband is not liable for her debts contracted before marriage. Cannot make contracts without husband's consent except for necessary household supplies. By husband's permission she may engage in trade, and her separate earnings will belong to her. If abandoned by husband she may engage in business and bind separate estate. Husband and wife may make marriage settlement, but not in such manner as would affect the rights of creditors at that time. Dower and courtesy as at common law. May dispose of her property by will, but not in such manner as to affect husband's courtesy rights. Can not convey property with-out consent of husband. May insure husband's life for her own benefit, but not to an amount the annual premium on which would exceed $300.

North Dakota.有egal age 18. Wife owns all property acquired before or after marriage. Not liable for husband's debts. May contract, sue and be sued in respect of her own property. Courtesy and dower are abolished. May make will and dispose of her property without consent of husband. Has no interest in husband's property, but husband and wife may make contracts with each other, or convey property to each other. On death of either, survivor takes one-third of the estate, the children taking the other two-thirds. If there are no children, the two-thirds go to the deceased's next of kin.

New York.有egal age 21. Property acquired at any time, is wife's separate property, free from husband's debts. She may engage in business. May manage and control her own property and earnings. Husband is not bound by her contracts. Husband and wife may make contracts with each other, and either may convey real estate. At the age of 16 wife may make a will disposing of personal property, and at 21 of her real estate. May act as guardian, administratrix and executrix. Husband is liable for her debts contracted before marriage only to the extent of such property as he may have received from her. Dower as at common law. Husband is entitled to courtesy, but wife may dispose of land by deed or will without husband's consent.

Ohio.有egal age 18. Property acquired before marriage and all acquired after marriage by gift, devise, inheritance, conveyance or purchase with her own separate means, is separate property of the wife. May make contracts, sue and be sued as if unmarried. Control and manage her own property, none of which is liable for debts of husband. Widow has common law dower in lands of the husband. Common law courtesy is abolished, but the husband has a dower interest in the real estate of the wife. Husband not liable for wife's separate debts. Both must join in conveyance of or mortgage on real estate.

Oklahoma.有egal age 18. All property owned before marriage or acquired by devise, gift or purchase, belongs to wife free from debts of husband. She may manage, control, sue and be sued in respect of it, and may convey without consent of husband. Personal earnings are. her own and so are the earnings of minor children if she is living apart from her husband. Neither husband nor wife has an interest in the property of the other. Husband is liable for debts contracted by wife for necessaries to the support of herself and children.

Oregon.有egal age 21, or at marriage. All property whenever or however acquired is wife's separate property; not liable for debts of husband, but liable for family expenses and education of children. Wife may manage, sell or convey her property, but husband must join in the deed. Wife and husband may convey to each other. Wife may make contracts, sue and be sued, but the husband is not liable for her debts. She may make a will but cannot deprive husband of his interest in her property. Dower and courtesy as at common law.

Pennsylvania.-Legal age 21. All her own property is separate property which she may manage and control, but cannot sell, mortgage or lease without the husband joining. She may go into business, make contracts, sue and be sued in her own name. Neither husband nor wife is liable for the debts of the other except those incurred for necessary family expenses. Wife may dispose of personal property without consent of husband. Widow has interest for life in one-half the husband's land if there are no children; one-third if there are children; or all in fee if there are no children nor kindred.

Rhode Island.有egal age 21. All property acquired before marriage or after marriage by gift, devise or descent is wife's separate property, and she may dispose of it by will or conveyance as though unmarried. May make contracts, sue and be sued. She is liable for her separate debts, but not for family necessaries. Personal earnings belong to her. Not liable for debts of husband Husband and wife may convey to each other. Dower and courtesy as at common law.

South Carolina.有egal age 21. All property whenever and however acquired is the wife's separate property, and not liable for the husband's debts. In respect of such property she may make contracts, sue and be sued. Separate property and personal earnings are not liable for family necessaries. Wife may make a will. Courtesy is abolished. Widow has life use of husband's land to an extent that would yield her an income equal to one-third of the husband's total annual income.

South Dakota.-Legal age 18. All property whenever and however acquired is her separate property, and not liable for husband's debts. May sell, mortgage or devise it without consent of husband and may contract, sue and be sued in respect of it. Personal earnings belong to her. Neither husband nor wife has an interest in the property of the other, but either may convey to the other. Widow takes in fee simple a part of the land left by the husband.

Tennessee. Legal age 21. All property be-fore or after marriage is separate property, not liable for debts of the husband. Wife may sell, mortgage or devise it without consent of husband, and may make contracts, sue and be sued, in respect of it. Widow has life use of one-third of the husband's real estate, and a child's share of his personal property. If husband dies in-testate and there are no heirs, widow takes all.

Texas.有egal age 21, or at marriage. Property owned before marriage or afterward acquired by gift, devise or descent is the wife's separate property. Same as to husband's property. All other property is their common property, which the husband controls and may dis-pose of. Husband must act jointly with wife when wife is appointed administratrix or executrix. Neither husband or wife is liable for the debts of the other. Wife may do business and enter into contracts. On death of husband intestate, widow takes one-third of the personal property, the children taking remainder; same as to real estate. If no children, widow takes all personal property and one-half the real estate.

Utah.有egal age 18. All property is her separate property no matter when acquired, and she may dispose of it by will or conveyance. May do business, make contracts, sue and be sued as though unmarried. Not liable for debts of the husband. Dower and courtesy abolished. Widow takes one-third in value of all the property.

Virginia.有egal age 21. All property acquired at any time, together with the income from such property, as well as her personal earnings, belong to the wife and are not subject to debts of husband. In respect of her separate property she may enter into business, sue and be sued. Husband not liable for debts of wife. Husband has courtesy in wife's estate.

Vermont.有egal age 18. All property acquired at any time unless it comes from her husband is the wife's separate property, and is not liable for debts of the husband. May dispose of it by will, but cannot impair the husband's courtesy. Husband joins in conveying land, and may contract excepting with her husband. May sue and be sued. May be guardian, trustee, administratrix or executrix. Widow has a life interest in one-third of husband's realty.

Washington.有egal age 18. Property owned before Marriage or later acquired by gift, devise or inheritance by either husband or wife is their separate property. Property acquired otherwise is held in common and husband has control and management of it. Husband cannot sell real estate unless wife joins in the deed. To protect her property from husband's creditors, wife must file an inventory of it with the county recorder, in her own name. She may make contracts, sue and be sued as if unmarried. Wife and husband are alike liable for the support of children. Dower and courtesy abolished. Widow takes one-third and children two-thirds of husband's property.

West Virginia.有egal age 21. Property acquired before or after marriage excepting it comes from the husband, is the wife's separate property and not liable for the husband's , debts. Husband liable for debts of wife only to the ex-tent of property received from her. Wife may sue and be sued. If living apart from her husband she may engage in business and convey property on her own account. Dower as at common law.

Wisconsin.有egal age 21. Property owned before or acquired after marriage excepting that received from her husband is the wife's separate property and not subject to the husband's debts. May convey property without husband joining in conveyance. May enter into contract with husband as well as with others. May engage in business, sue and be sued, in respect of her separate property. Her separate earnings belong to her. Any time after the age of 18 may dis-pose of her property by will. Husband cannot sell her property nor mortgage the homestead without the consent of wife. Wife is not liable for family expenses. On death of wife husband has life interest in her real estate. Dower as at common law.

Wyoming.有egal age 21. Property acquired is wife's separate property, not subject to husband's debts. She may go into business, make contracts, keep her own earnings, sue and be sued; but husband is not liable for her separate contracts or debts. Women may vote and hold office. Dower and courtesy abolished. Survivor takes one-half the estate, the children the other half. If no children, survivor takes three-fourths, the other fourth passing to the next of kin.

Meaning of Dower and Courtesy

Dower is that part of an estate which a woman enjoys during her life, after the death of her husband.

Courtesy is the status of a man marrying a woman seized of an estate of inheritance, and has by her issue born alive, who is capable of inheriting her estate. In this case, on the death of his wife, he holds the lands for his life, as tenant by courtesy.

Dower and courtesy are matters of common law.



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