This study traces the history of the women's suffrage movement in New Mexico from 1900 to 1930. The movement in the state was an urban phenomenon. City life provided women the opportunity to organize and engage in reform work outside their homes. The suffragists were concerned primarily with various problems in their urban communities. The suffrage movement in New Mexico, therefore, occurred because of local concerns and not national ones.
Beginning around 1900, middle class urban women in New Mexico formed various organizations to work for the improvement of their communities. Their main concerns fell within women's separate sphere. Female social reformers, for example, aimed to better public health, education, child welfare, and crime. In 1911, female activists formed an umbrella organization, the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs, to coordinate their reform work.
These early organizations made a suffrage movement possible. The demand for the vote began in 1912 when New Mexico became a state. The new state constitution made it virtually impossible for women to vote in general elections. The suffrage movement lasted until 1920 when New Mexico became the thirty-second state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. What is more important, suffragists in the state argued for the ballot on the grounds of women's special concerns.
Most New Mexicans began to support female suffrage during World War I because of women's war work. After women received the vote, female activists in the state continued their reform work by forming new organizations and entering public office. By the 1920s, most New Mexicans accepted women's new public and political role. In this sense, the women's suffrage movement in New Mexico was a success.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Ferenc M. Szasz
Second Committee Member
M. Jane Slaughter
Third Committee Member
Howard Neil Rabinowitz
women's suffrage, Nineteenth Amendment
Young, Janine A.. ""For the best interests of the community": the origins and impact of the women's suffrage movement in New Mexico, 1900-1930." (1984). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hist_etds/253