Restrictions on Voting Rights

From 1886 to 1851, legislation explicitly denied women the right to vote in all of the British colonies in North America. In order to vote from 1886 to 1918, you had to be a white male with income and property.

This kind of limited access is called restricted suffrage, meaning that voting eligibility hinged on an individual’s capacity to pay a specific type of tax called poll tax. For those who upheld the system, voting served an important function in maintaining the status quo since it was an activity that only individuals deemed worthy enough (based on intelligence, education, social class and income) could take part in.

Of course, such a system would not only disenfranchise women, who were regarded as minors by law, but also Amerindians, Asians, etc. In 1867, only 16% of the total population had the right to vote.