Today in Feminist History: Great News! Court Says Women are “Persons,” “Citizens” (March 29, 1875)

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March 29, 1875: The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that American women are “persons” and “citizens,” but not persons or citizens entitled to vote as a result of passage of the 14th Amendment.

PHOTO: Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Morrison Waite.

The ruling in Minor v. Happersett (88 U.S. 162), written by Chief Justice Morrison Waite, could have successfully ended the struggle for woman suffrage had it been decided differently. But though disappointed, supporters of equal suffrage are not discouraged or defeated.

Virginia Minor, the plaintiff, certainly has no intention of giving up her struggle for the vote. She has been an active suffragist since founding the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri eight years ago. After the 14th Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868, she decided that the best and quickest route to…

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