Why was Wyoming the first state to adopt suffrage for women?

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although the woman's suffrage movement more or less originated in the Northeast, with the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, Wyoming was the first state to actually legally extend the franchise to women, in 1869, when barely a thousand women were living in the territory.  One reason this occurred more quickly in the West probably has to do with the issue of slavery and the Civil War.  The issue had been the "elephant in the room" all the way through to the Missouri Compromise of 1820.  The slavery tension between the two sections of the nation throughout the 1830's, 1840's, and 1850's finally culminated in the Civil War in 1861, and women's suffrage during those years took a back seat to a greater necessity.  Out West, the spirit of expansion prevailed, less tainted by the emotional outrage of the war over slavery, and many hailed Wyoming and the West as the beginning of a new era for Americans, particularly women.