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Woman Suffrage in Colorado

Document 1

The question of whether to extend the right of suffrage to women arose at the Colorado Constitutional Convention, held in 1875-1876. A majority opposed votes for women, but two men were pro-suffrage: Henry P. H. Bromwell and Agapita Vigil. In their minority report, Bromwell and Vigil set forth their case for the enfranchisement of women.

       Said provision is in the form of a limitation upon the right of Suffrage, confining that right to less than one half of the citizens of the State over the age of twenty-one years . . . On what principles is our Government founded? The principles following in the bill of rights, which are, among other things these: "That all government of right originates from the people."

       But aside from the universally recognized principles of the Bill of Rights, what right has any one class of the citizens to sit in judgement on allowing to others the exercise of their rights? Nobody can, and we believe no one does, deny that one citizen has just as much right as another.

       It may be stated as a rule applicable to every species of republic, that depriving any class of the right of Suffrage, invites contempt of that class, and in fact produces it. Secondly it is false that Woman is inferior [of lower rank] to Man . . .The truth is, we are a human race. Part of us are men, part of us are women; both equal, each superior, and each inferior; each is part and parcel of the same humanity.

--Excerpt from "Judge Bromwell's Minority Report on Suffrage: Read, Ordered Printed,
and Laid on the Table for Future Consideration," 8 February 1876

1. What are two reasons given in the minority report supporting suffrage for women?

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2. Why was it effective for Brownell and Vigil to base one of their arguments on the Bill of Rights?

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