Woman suffrage is declared unconstitutional in Harland v. Washington on February 3, 1887.

  • By Mildred Andrews
  • Posted 12/08/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 464

On February 3, 1887, the Washington territorial supreme court declares the woman suffrage act of 1883 unconstitutional by a vote of two to one.

Jefferson Harland, the plaintiff, had been convicted of swindling by a grand jury that included women. He appealed, claiming that women were not legal jurors and voters. The supreme court agreed and overturned his conviction by a vote of two to one.

The ruling was based on a technicality, namely that the official title of the suffrage act, "An Act to Amend Section 3050, Chapter 238 of the Code of Washington," did not adequately describe the content.


T.A. Larson, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Washington," Pacific Northwest Quarterly Vol. 67, No. 2 (April, 1976) 42.

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