The California Constitutional Convention of 1849 may have been a short period in Monterey’s history, but its impact on history was enormous. Considering the time of its creation, the California Constitution of 1849 was very progressive for numerous reasons; one progressive ideal was women’s rights. At the time, American women were subjected to patriarchal rule; they were dependents of their fathers, husbands, and surrendered any privilege of wages, possessions, and were to be in total submission.
During this convention, 48 male delegates made a very controversial decision concerning women. The delegates needed to consider the Mexican culture of California before it became a part of the United States in 1848. Mexican women were able own property, and therefore, it was decided that married women could own and inherit land from their husbands and family. This was a very radical proclamation in the United States and an enormous accomplishment for women.
"All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterward by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife in relation as well to her separate property, as to that held in common with her husband."
The next time women in the United States would receive such progressive treatment was in 1869 when women were given right to vote and hold office in the Wyoming territory, and vote in state affairs when Wyoming entered the Union in 1890. California became the precursor for women’s rights, leading the way for the vote in Wyoming.