Many of Canada’s most famous suffragists lived and campaigned in the Prairie provinces, which led the way in granting women the right to vote and hold office. In Ours by Every Law of Right and Justice, Sarah Carter challenges the myth that grateful male legislators simply handed women the vote when it was asked for. Settler suffragists worked long and hard to overcome obstacles and persuade doubters. But even as they petitioned for the vote for their sisters, they often approved of that same right being denied to “foreigners” and Indigenous peoples. By situating the suffragists’ struggle in the colonial history of Prairie Canada, this powerful and passionate book shows that the right to vote meant different things to different people.
Sarah Carter is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of women and First Nations in Prairie Canada, including Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies, which won the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research and the Canadian Historical Association’s Sir John A. Macdonald Prize. Recollecting: Lives of Aboriginal Women of the Canadian Northwest and Borderlands, which she edited with Patricia McCormack, won four prizes, including the Canadian Historical Association’s Aboriginal History Award and the Coalition for Western Women’s History’s Armitage-Jameson Book Prize in North American women’s and gender history. She is a professor and the Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.