Woman Suffrage: The Voters

The voters of 1914 differed significantly from the rural folk of the 1890s. The mining industry was on life support, and Nevada had spiraled into deep depression losing a third of its population between 1880 and 1900. Politically, the voters had expressed their desperation in a multiparty system headed by the new Silver Party. Then, discoveries at central Nevada in Tonopah and Goldfield changed everything. A boom succeeded the long depression, and the population nearly doubled between 1900 and 1910, with the urban component (defined in that era as more than 2,500 people) rising by 10%. Anne Martin, president of the recently formed Equal Franchise Society, kept the issue on the agenda, and local leaders like the lawyer Bird Wilson in Goldfield, worked effectively. The voters would show openness to reform by passing the direct democracy amendments, initiative, referendum, and recall, by large majorities. More than forty years after Assemblyman C. D. Hillyer first introduced woman suffrage to the legislature there was reason to hope for the “inestimable boon.”