Lead: In its 1776 constitution, almost by accident, the state of New Jersey gave women the right to vote.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The New Jersey Constitution was a hastily assembled affair, put together under the pressure of wartime. Its only requirement for suffrage was a property requirement. The franchise was extended to all inhabitants who were worth £50 or more. This included women and, for that matter, free blacks who were able to muster the financial assets. This did not mean that women voted in large numbers at first. Few married women owned property independently from their husbands. That left prosperous single women and widows who were not in abundance.