Did New Jersey Women in 1787 Participate in the Selection of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention? Maybe.

April 29th, 2010

From 1776-1807, women in New Jersey with £50 (about $7,800 in current value) in cash or property had the right to vote.

Section IV of the New Jersey Constitution provides:

IV. That all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same, and have resided within the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council and Assembly; and also for all other public officers, that shall be elected by the people of the county at large.

New Jersey ratified the Constitution in 1787.

According to New Jersey’s ratification Declaration:

“Resolved, unanimously, That it be recommended to such of the inhabitants of this state as are entitled to vote for representatives in General Assembly, to meet in their respective counties on the fourth Tuesday in November next, at the several places fixed by law for holding the annual elections, to choose three suitable persons to serve as delegates from each county in a state Convention, for the purposes hereinbefore mentioned, and that the same be conducted agreeably to the mode, and conformably with the rules and regulations, prescribed for conducting such elections; —

Section IV provides that women could vote for representatives in General Assembly. Therefore, it would seem that women were entitled to choose delegates to the state Convention for purposes of ratification.

I’m curious to what extent women were involved in the selection of delegates back in New Jersey in 1787.