14 June 1907

Norway gives women the right to vote.

On 14 June 1907, Norway’s Storting demonstrated the difficulty faced by women’s suffrage advocates around the world. On the one hand, the national legislature approved a bill that would allow some of Norway’s women to vote for lawmakers and even to win seats in the Storting. On the other hand, the male lawmakers limited national voting rights to women who had the right to vote in municipal elections.

First woman to cast her vote in the municipal election, Akershus slott, Norway, 1910. Oslo Museum collection via DigitaltMuseum under Creative Commons License.
Those limits meant that only women who were at least 25 years old and met certain tax-paying thresholds had the right to vote. The Storting voted by a 3-to-2 margin not to enact universal female suffrage.

From the 1300s to the 1800s, Norway was joined with its neighbors Denmark or Sweden. While reforms in the late 1800s created a powerful Norwegian legislature and considerable autonomy over domestic conditions, Norway did not gain full independence until 1905. Even then, the legislature accepted a king and put a constitutional monarchy into place.

Democratic reformers were among of the forces pushing for these changes in the late 1800s. Norwegian men gained the right to vote in 1898. A women’s suffrage movement had been active since 1885 but was unable to convince the Storting to extend the right to women. Norway’s women did enjoy some advances. In 1854, they gained the right to inherit property, and in the 1890s, they won the right to control their own property.

Nevertheless, it was another six years after the 1907 vote for the Storting to agree to full women’s suffrage. While the delay may have frustrated Norway’s women, they were still better off than the women in all but three other countries. Only New Zealand, Australia, and Finland allowed women to vote at that time.

14 June 1777

Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States.

On this day in 1777, the Continental Congress passed the Flag Act. It said, Resolved: That the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

Then, on this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. Congress followed up in 1949 by enacting a statute that officially recognized Flag Day — a statute that President Harry S. Truman signed into law on Aug. 3 of that year. Flag Day, however, is not an official federal holiday. While the statute leaves it to the president’s discretion to proclaim its observance, every president since Wilson has done so.

Until President William Howard Taft signed an executive order on June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag were set by law. As a result, flags that predated Taft’s order at times reflected unusual arrangements of stars and overall proportions that struck the fancy of individual flag-makers. In most cases, however, they used straight rows of stars and proportions similar or identical to those that were eventually officially adopted.

Twice in 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the arrangement of the stars on the flag changed to reflect the successive admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union. It has remained unchanged since.The U.S. flag flies over the House and Senate wings of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., day or night, whenever those bodies are in session. While many public and private sites also fly the flag at night as a patriotic gesture, there are only eight places or categories where, either by law or through a presidential proclamation, the U.S. flag must fly 24 hours a day.