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Tools for Educators

Utah Women’s Suffrage: Reader’s Theater and Voting Simulation

Lesson Overview

This lesson provides students with information about the main events and key players involved in Utah women’s suffrage over the course of several key periods: 1) enfranchisement (1860s-1870), 2) disfranchisement (1871-1887), 3) re-enfranchisement with statehood (1888-1896), and 4) the ratification of the 19th Amendment (1920). Students will participate in a reader’s theater and a voting simulation requiring them to view and write about these historical events through various perspectives.

This lesson is also available on Canvas Commons.

Recommended Instructional Time: 60-90 minutes
mural of Seraph Young voting that hangs in Utah House of Representatives Chamber

Historical Background for Educators

Key Utah State Standards

Learning Objectives

Guiding Questions

  • Why was Utah a forerunner in granting voting rights to women?
  • Why were Utah women’s voting rights taken away by Congress?
  • How were Utah women involved politically and civically at local and national levels?
  • How and why are rights given, taken away, and/or withheld from various groups?



(noun) a ticket or piece of paper used to vote

Seraph Young was the first woman in the modern United States to cast a ballot in an election.


(verb) to make official by voting for and signing (a constitutional amendment)

In August 1920, the 19th Amendment granting women’s voting rights was ratified by three-fourths of the states.


(noun) To take away someone’s right to vote

The Edmunds-Tucker Act caused the disfranchisement of Utah women.


(noun) To give someone the right to vote

Emmeline B. Wells was a Utah leader involved in the enfranchisement of women.


(n) the right to vote

The 19th Amendment granted the franchise to women.

(v) to give the right to vote

The 19th Amendment franchised women.




(noun) A marriage system in which a person is married to more than one person at a time.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy, in which some husbands had more than one living wife.


(noun) The right to vote in a political election

During the women’s suffrage movement, women fought for and won the right to vote in political elections.



to give back someone’s right to vote

“Re” = to do again

The re-enfranchisement of Utah women occurred when Utah attained statehood.


(noun) an organization that is a chapter (or part of) of a larger organization

Utah had affiliates, or chapters, of the larger National American Women’s Suffrage Association throughout the state.


(verb): to try to influence government officials to make decisions for or against something.

Anti-polygamists lobbied Congress to make polygamy illegal.


(verb) to give up doing something

In 1890, the LDS Church disavowed, or ended, the practice of polygamy.

Materials Needed





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