Saturday, September 29, 2012

5. New Jersey: Suffrage Pioneer

New Jersey
By Becky Brown

In the United States the right to vote could be determined by an individual state if the federal goverment did not address the issue. When the New Jersey Constitution was first adopted in 1776 the document defined a voter as a propertied adult resident of the state.

1880 representation of the 18th-century New Jersey
"Petticoat Electorate" in Harper's Weekly
How many women, blacks and non-citizens took advantage of this freedom at the polls is not recorded but by 1802 the Trenton True American described the percentage of woman voters as "alarming."  In 1807 politicians using the excuse of voter fraud prevention narrowed the franchise to free, white males over 21 years of age.

Campaigning for a renewed franchise
on the Jersey Shore in 1915
By the early 20th century suffragists reached a consensus that a national law, a Constitutional Amendment, was necessary to ensure that states could not give and take voting rights on political whims. New Jersey was the 29th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, the Woman's Suffrage Amendment, in 1920.
The 19th Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Alice Paul of Moorestown, New Jersey became a leading suffragist, effectively using newspaper publicity to win the fight for the 19th Amendment. After each state ratified the Amendment she invited reporters to watch her stitch another star on her Suffrage Flag. The law required ratification by 35 states. Here she totes up 22 in late 1919.

New Jersey by
Georgann Eglinski
New Jersey by
Dustin Cecil


New Jersey
 BlockBase #2952
In the early 20th century Hearth and Home magazine asked readers for blocks named for their home states. The nine-patch submitted for New Jersey here is adjusted for an 8" block but retains the X which can symbolize the vote New Jersey "gave" to women and then took away.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

A - Cut 2 squares 4"

 Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 4 triangles.

B Cut 4 rectangles 2-1/4" x 3-1/8".

C - Cut 2 rectangles 1-1/8" x 3-5/8".

D - Cut 2 squares 3-7/8".

Cut each with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 8 triangles.

E - Cut 1 square 3".

Cut  with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 4 triangles.
F - Cut 1 rectangle 1-1/8" x 7-3/8".

New Jersey
by Becky Brown

Another romanticized look at New Jersey's
 female voters.

Read Irwin N. Gertzog's paper "Female Suffrage in New Jersey 1790-1807" by clicking here:

And Rosemarie Zagarri's blog post "On Voter Fraud and the Petticoat Electors of New Jersey" here:

New Jersey: Pioneer in women's suffrage.


  1. I can see the fabric really matters on this one! It makes such a difference in the look one has.

  2. French living in Italy, I began this adventure with two friends ... thank you for this wonderful work and especially for the historical aspect. together with the blocks I prepared a book to keep a souvenir of this patchwork, further every week I translate your historical information to put on my blog. I'd like to know if you gave me permission if I can add some photos find on your blog.
    with love
    sophie ( my blog is

  3. Sophie, since I am doing this for free you might as well put the pictures there too. If anyone wants to translate this fine with me. Just give a link to the original. Merci.

  4. Barbara, fantastic blocks & historic information. I share this with my friends at weekly sit n sews. Will you be publishing this as a book? Thank you for the wonderful work you do, your fabrics are my favorite! Joan

  5. A book? Right now I say NO WAY. That's why I love the blog. Lots less work. But then again... We shall see. The blocks everyone is making are turning out so good.

  6. I posted about week 4 block on my blog - don't belong to flickr so don't know how to post a picture there, but I used a different method to put the sunflower block together. Unconventional, but it worked.

  7. Having such a hard time putting this block together. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Does Blockbase have instructions or just the patterns? I can't tell from the description.

  8. thanks for sharing..