Feisty Women Fascinate Peter Leavell

The Fillies are happy to have Mr. Peter Leavell. He’s a western author with a love of history. Women’s voting rights greatly interests him. This is his first time to visit and we hope you make him welcome. He’s giving away a book so leave a comment.

Peter Leavell

 

My novels feature feisty women who change the world. Why? They’ve made our world a better place using methods that seem, to our Internet savvy minds, impossible. Take this snapshot of history loosely based on Colorado’s suffrage movement.

Pretend you’re a woman who wants to vote, but you live in the American frontier about 1910. And you, being feisty, aren’t about to let another day go by without making some progress toward this obvious (not to the men who are in charge) form of equality. You have no social media. No support. Nothing but your wits and a world that frowns on women making a stand for what’s right.

Where to start? Few care about women voting. Your husband is your mouthpiece, and his vote is your vote. With a male dominated society, you’re in for a battle.

Women Voting SignMy recommendation is to start a society. So you write a pamphlet with a list of rules and aims. You have a recognizable mission and direction. If people join, you can pool resources. It’s best to find a partner. Do you have a sister or a best friend? Working together on this is vital. There’s a lot of work to do.

She agrees. You both knock on friends’ doors and chat. Only half agree to attend a meeting you plan on Thursday. When Thursday arrives, you’re nervous, but explain your hope to garner support for women’s suffrage. Because you’ve educated yourself, you know the senate must approve items on the ballot. It comes down to getting enough people to sign a petition so you can have your say before the legislature. All twelve women who attend the meeting join the society.

For next month’s meeting, you take out an ad in the paper. The editor won’t run the story, so you use your own money. You go door to door during the day while husbands are working. The wives seem receptive.

Ratification of BillWhen meeting starts, too many people cram into the barn. You take initiative and move to the park. As you speak, they hang on your every word. They clap and cheer and are eager to help. Your next step is to gather signatures.

Eighty women go door to door, and while many turn you away, those in the society don’t lose hope. In just a few weeks, you have thousands of signatures. You’re tired, but you march straight to the senate headquarters and slap down the pages you’ve collected.

Senators listen respectfully months later, then quickly vote not to entertain the amendment.

You leave with broken heart. Except you receive word they held another vote. They will allow women to vote in school elections. The victory is so thrilling that women flock to your society. The next suffrage meeting is attended by so many women, the newspaper reports the event.

Susan B. Anthony notices, and sends a telegram that says if you can provide a small stipend, she will come speak. You cannot sleep that night. The thrill of the moment is too much to take in.

West For the Back HillsWhen she arrives, she tells women why they should care to vote.

Spurred by the speech, the women and few men work harder. The measure makes the ballot. The vote fails.

Many leave the society, and you’re discouraged, but your sister wonders why you couldn’t start your own magazine? You do, and the first edition sells 2,500 copies. You find open meetings less popular than reading about the movement at home.

You keep writing. Halfhearted support turns to firm dedication, and for years, you keep looking at the world through women’s rights. You’ve showed staying power, and other clubs join your society, such as Ladies Aid and Monday Literary Club.

One of your society members is voted onto the school board.

Ten years later, you have enough votes to make the state senate put the vote on the ballot.

You’ve been doing this for ten years. You know what to do. Meetings grow again, leaflets are passed out, house-to-house canvasses get the word out.

And you win. You’ve done it. You step into the voters booth, and it’s not just the ballot in front of you that gives you a thrill. Your voice has been heard. And the voice of thousands of your gender will be heard.

Why do I make my female protagonists feisty? Because the world needs to hear their stories.

Now I’d like to hear yours. What does having the right to vote mean to you? Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of WEST FOR THE BLACK HILLS!

Guest Blogger

24 Comments

  1. The right to vote gave women a voice the first time women could vote. I look at voting as a privilege. We should support our cities, counties, states and country. We have a voice!

    1. A voice that change the world! Thanks, Melanie!

  2. Peter, welcome. I don’t exactly know how to say what it means to be able to vote. I know for sure if we can vote and don’t take the time to do it, we have no right to complain about how things turn out. Also, to show the men we are not second class citizens like they are treating us, but a part of the whole. It wasn’t right for them to do the voting then the women just having to live with their decisions. Voting women are very important to our cities, states, and our nation. I would love to win your book. Thanks for a chance.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. Thanks, Maxie! How fair is it that women paid taxes but had no representation? The American Revolution was fought over it, for goodness sake! Good luck in the drawing!

  3. Having the right to vote is a big responsibility and one I take very seriously.

    1. Glad to hear it, Faith! Hope more people feel like you. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Welcome to Wildflower Junction! Your name sounded familiar and then I realized that I had checked out your website for Gideon’s Call a while back. It amazes me the things that women had to go through to get the vote. Thank goodness they had persistence and didn’t give up.

    1. Getting the vote took some feisty women! The amount of work women did to vote is absurd, but it was still a close thing. I’m glad society is making progress on equality! Still a ways to go. Thanks, Kathryn!

  5. Peter, we’re thrilled to have you among the Fillies, if only for a weekend.

    Our foremothers had to fight so hard for rights we take for granted today. It seems such a shame to waste their efforts, yet thousands of women do. Those thousands could make a tremendous difference in the outcome of contemporary ballot measures meant to return women to second-class citizen status in one way or another.

    Thanks for keeping the flame of women’s rights alive in your fiction! 🙂

    1. Great point, Kathleen. Not voting is a travesty. Thanks! I’ll keep telling the stories of incredible women!

  6. Welcome Peter!Nice to have a Fella visit the Fillies.

    I come from a long line of feisty women who have had some incredible men encourage them to let their voices be heard. (The other men we will not talk about!)

    I am anxious to see how you handle your feisty women in WEST FOR THE BLACK HILLS.

    1. Thanks, Rosie! Always fun to see the feisty pedigree is a family!

  7. we were raised in a very political family,and not voting when you became of age was not heard of,we all were taken to register to vote on our birthdays when we turned 18,,I dont think ive missed a election since turning 18..i will be 60 this year,,love the post,,took my own kids to register when they turned 18 too,,they vote but arent as faithful as thier Mom is,,we were raised if you dont vote dont critize what happens in the government

    1. Yes! Vickie, that’s awesome! Great thought!

  8. I will never understand people who don’t vote. I am 76 years old and when I registered to vote you had to be 21. I never miss an election.

    1. Great job, Goldie. Now, if you could teach this current generation to vote…!

  9. Not voting is an insult to those who worked so hard to gain that privilege for women. Not voting means you don’t care and removes your right to complain.

    1. A harsh reality, but true, Connie! Good point!

  10. Thank you for sharing this great post and giveaway, Peter. The right to vote is certainly a privilege I am thankful for!

    1. Thanks for hanging out Britney!

  11. Hi Peter, welcome to P&P. I’m a bit late to the party but wanted to say that we’re really glad you came. I love your blog and I can tell you’re very passionate about this. My mom had a stroke right before the presidential election that year and her main complaint was the she didn’t get to vote. She always voted and taught us kids to. Sadly she passed a few weeks later. I’ll always remember her fighting spirit. She was one feisty lady!

    Women have blazed trails of one kind or another for a long time. Annie Oakley, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart to name a few. Give us a cause or a challenge and we’ll set to work.

    Thanks for being here! I love the cover of your book. Very nice.

  12. We take voting for granted. It is hard to imagine not having the vote and the struggles and long time it took to get the vote for women. Voting is such a privilege – and duty – that I can’t imagine not voting every single time I can. If you don’t vote, don’t complain. And don’t think your vote is too small to matter. Every little voice counts.

  13. Voting is a privilege. Being a citizen this is so meaningful and important.

  14. An interesting post, Peter. Thank you. Beautiful book cover!

    Nancy

Comments are closed.