Even as Dakota Territory prepped to divide into states in 1889, women’s suffrage was a point of contention. Suffragists presented a petition at the territorial convention in January that was signed by over 4000 women asking the legislature to enact a law giving women the same voting rights as men.
A pro-suffrage representative, Mrs. Barker, spoke at the territorial session, noting, “… 4,000 Christian women of Dakota have sent up their prayers and petitions asking [for] the right of suffrage. … There are women on this floor who do not want the right of suffrage, but if there is one who does want it, it should be extended to her.”
Representative John Cooke from Jamestown stated, “there is no reason aside from traditional prejudice why the right of suffrage should not be extended to women.”