In 1859 Clarina Nichols wrote to the Moneka Association expressing support for women’s rights and suggesting that someone should advocate for them at the Constitutional Convention, which had just been authorized. The Moneka group circulated petitions for signatures to present to the territorial legislature.  The Association voted to employ Mrs. Nichols to lecture on women’s rights in Kansas and to attend the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention as an observer.  

Of course, Mrs. Nichols was not a member of the convention,  but she lobbied the delegates on women’s issues arguing for equal civil and legal rights for women.  The delegates invited her to attend their deliberations and assigned her a permanent seat. She attended every session and local accounts reported that she frequently brought her knitting. Through her efforts, the Wyandotte Constitution (under which Kansas entered the Union) contained language for:

  1. Equal educational privileges in all institutions of learning controlled by the state
  2. Equal right in the formation and conduct of the common schools
  3. An equal right for the mothers with the fathers to custody and control of their mutual offspring
  4. The right of the wife to hold and accumulate property and to sue and be sued as if sole (single)

 

To learn more about Clarina Nichols: https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/clarina-nichols/12156