Woman Suffrage: Tactics

Fundamentally, the suffragists had a choice between speechmaking at rallies and pillow talk, plus a petition drive to gain a signature from every home in the state. Florence Boyer, daughter of Delphine Squires, described suffrage in Las Vegas in 1912. Delphine, then president of the Mesquite Club, the leading ladies organization, received an unexpected wire informing her that Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a nationally known suffragist was about to arrive to speak to the assembled multitude. The usual venue was already booked, and Gilman haughtily rejected a substitute. Delphine shed no tears over that, believing attendance would be scant, consisting of men “all dragged there against their wills by their wives.” Gilman was reduced to haranguing passersby in the railroad station. As the 1914 referendum approached, the Las Vegas ladies relied on gentle persuasion and pillow talk to win over male voters. Among all counties, Clark ranked second highest in the percentage of favorable votes (75.5 percent). Evidently, gentle persuasion was not an ineffective strategy.