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When it came to women's suffrage, Kansas was a little ahead of the game in the late 19th century. Even if they didn't mean to be.

Eight years before the U.S. granted women the right to vote in national elections, the Sunflower State became the first state in the Midwest to allow women to vote in statewide elections—and 25 years before that, women gained the right to vote in Kansas city elections.

On April 4, 1877, just weeks after women were given the right to vote municipally, the small town of Argonia, Kansas held its mayoral election. On the ticket was a 27-year-old mother of four and officer of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) named Susanna Salter.

Salter hadn't planned on running. In fact, she didn't even know she was in the running until her name showed up on the ballot.

According to the Kansas Historical Society, the WCTU wanted Argonia to enforce the state's prohibition law and made that their focus in the city's elections. They called a caucus, and with Salter presiding over the meeting in the absence of the union's president, chose a slate of men they thought would be worthy candidates.

However, some men in Argonia had an issue with both the WCTU and women getting involved in politics. They didn't want to see "petticoat rule" with women being able to vote, so they set about scheming. Two of the men attended the WCTU caucus and heckled it. They attempted to nominate a candidate and were voted down.

Afterward, 20 of these men held a secret caucus with the intention to embarrass the WCTU and teach the women of the town a lesson. They put together a slate of candidates that were identical with the one the WCTU put together, only they replaced the mayoral candidate's name with Salter's. It was a prank. They figured their slate would only get their 20 votes, assuming the WCTU would vote for the original slate of WCTU candidates and that no men would vote for a woman.

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