A Moment In History – Jamaica Is Granted Universal Adult Suffrage

download (1)

Today’s historical moment is not related to just one parish, but is of national significance.

Jamaica was granted full adult suffrage on November 20, 1944. Prior to that, the right to vote was determined by the amount of wealth or property a man held, and women were not allowed to vote at all. The new system extended voting rights to adults irrespective of their race, sex, or social class.

Less than a month later, on December 12, Jamaica became only the third state in the British Empire to conduct elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage, preceded only by New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Among the countries in 1944 that conducted elections on the basis of universal adult suffrage, Jamaica was the only colony, the only state with a black majority and the only small state with an economy based largely on agriculture. The election was won by the Alexander Bustamante-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which claimed 22 seats; the Norman Manley-led People’s National Party (PNP) the Independents won five seats each.

Read more…