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Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 5 months ago



 With Courage and Cloth: Suffrage Battles in the Progressive Era

Women's suffrage movement, exposing grit, fiery determination, and radical tactics.

as a new group of young women emerged splitting split into two camps





“Women’s collective action in the Progressive era certainly expressed a maternalist ideology [a set of ideas that women’s roles as mothers gave them a responsibility to care for society as well]. … But it was also sparked by a moral vision of a more equitable distribution of the benefits of industrialization. … Within the political culture of middleclass women, gender consciousness combined with an awareness of class-based injustices, and talented leaders combined with grassroots activism to produce an impressive force for social, political, and economic change.”


Kathryn Kish Sklar, historian, “The Historical Foundations of Women’s Power in the Creation of the

American Welfare State,” Mothers of a New World, 1993













National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)


Carrie Catt’s approach was to fight the battle at both the state and federal level. Her leadership was essential for the passage of the 19th amendment because the increased number of states in which women could vote in primary and regular elections was necessary to secure national suffrage.


While President Wilson was offended by Paul’s Silent Sentinels, he was keenly aware of the suffrage movement’s growing strength. Although he kept silent on Paul, her tactics forced him to meet with the more conservative NAWSA because he was keenly aware of the suffrage movement’s growing strength







National Women's Party (NWP)

Although the radical tone and tenor of Alice Paul’s efforts to earn national suffrage was not well received by the conservative elements of the movement, it did produce results. Her tactics were dubbed “unladylike” and the “Silent Sentinels” drew negative publicity for picketing the White House during World War I, Her organization did get results.


Alice Paul wanted to focus on holding the Democrats in office responsible for the failure of women’s suffrage legislation and focus only federal level constitutional amendment. Her militancy kept the suffrage issue in the news and politicians had a stake in keeping women voters happy.


Image result for Alice Paul (and the one featured on her biography page at the National Constitution Center’s National Tree) depicts her raising a glass to suffrage in front of a National Women’s Party banner.

Perhaps the most famous photo of Alice Paul (and the one featured on her biography page at the National Constitution Center’s National Tree) depicts her raising a glass to suffrage in front of a National Women’s Party banner. 1 The photo, taken in Washington on September 3rd, 1920, came just over two weeks after Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.


Alice Paul’s glass was most likely not filled with wine, but grape juice; there are several reasons why one might safely make this assumption. She was raised in a Quaker family (a faith strongly associated with temperance), suffragists were generally allied with the dry cause, and the 18th Amendment had been in effect for over eight months at that point. While one could still legally make and consume wine, its transportation (and therefore consumption in public) was prohibited.







Over time, problems occur as NAWSA leaders criticize NWP tactics, such as protesting against a wartime President Woodrow Wilson and picketing outside the White House with "Silent Sentinels."


Male supremacists famously (and infamously) label the women "iron-jawed angels." Relations between the American government and the NWP protesters also intensify, as many women are arrested for their actions, though the official charge is "obstructing traffic."


The women are sent to the Occoquan Workhouse for 60-day terms where they suffer under unsanitary and inhumane conditions. During this time, Paul and other women undertake a hunger strike, during which paid guards force-feed them milk and raw eggs. News of their treatment leaks to the media through the husband of one of the imprisoned women, a U.S. Senator, who has been able to lobby for a visit (the suffragists are otherwise unable to see visitors or lawyers) by putting a letter in his shirt. Pressure is put on President Wilson as the NAWSA seizes the opportunity to try for the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution








1848 - Seneca Falls, New York is the location for the first Women's Rights Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes "The Declaration of Sentiments" creating the agenda of women's activism for decades to come.


1861-1865 - During the Civil War, efforts for the suffrage movement come to a halt. Women put their energies toward the war effort.

1868 - The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified. "Citizens" and "voters" are defined exclusively as male.

1869 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony found the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), a more radical institution, to achieve the vote through a Constitutional amendment as well as push for other woman’s rights issues.  NWSA was based in New York.  Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision.

1870 - The Fifteenth Amendment gave black men the right to vote.  NWSA refused to work for its ratification and instead the members advocate for a Sixteenth Amendment that would dictate universal suffrage.  Frederick Douglass broke with Stanton and Anthony over the position of NWSA.  

1871 -Victoria Woodhull addresses the House Judiciary Committee, arguing women’s rights to vote under thefourteenth amendment.  The Anti-Suffrage Party is founded.

1872 - Susan B. Anthony casts her ballot for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election and is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York.  Fifteen other women are arrested for illegally voting.  Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding a ballot to vote; she is turned away.

1878 - A Woman Suffrage Amendment is proposed in the U.S. Congress. When the 19th Amendment passes forty-one years later, it is worded exactly the same as this 1878 Amendment.  



Image result for grant hamilton 1884 suffrage cartoon

Out in the Cold,  Grant Hamilton  'Judge,' March 22, 1884


1887 - The first vote on woman suffrage is taken in the Senate and is defeated.


1890 - Wyoming is admitted to the Union with a state constitution granting woman suffrage.  


1890-1925 - The Progressive Era begins. Women from all classes and backgrounds enter public life. Women's roles expand and result in an increasing politicization of women. Consequently the issue of woman suffrage becomes part of mainstream politics.

1894 - 600,000 signatures are presented to the New York State Constitutional Convention in a failed effort to bring a woman suffrage amendment to the voters.

1895 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman’s Bible.  After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from Stanton because many conservative suffragists considered her to be too radical and, thus, potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign.


1911 - Impact of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire


1912 - Woman Suffrage is supported for the first time at the national level by a major political party -- Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. Theodore Roosevelt, the consummate politician and strategist knew he had a tiger by the tail and wasn’t letting go.  In 1912, at the presidential convention in Chicago, he made a bold but calculated move.  He asked Jane Addams to give the speech nominating him to run as his parties’ candidate for President of the United States. She would go down in history as the first woman to speak at a national convention


Image result for women suffrage cartoons + map






1913 The first suffragist parade in Washington, D.C. Organized by the suffragist Alice Paul for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, thousands of suffragists marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Monday, March 3, 1913. The event was scheduled on the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration to "march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded," as the official program stated.



1916 - Jeanette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. Woodrow Wilson states that the Democratic Party platform will support suffrage.


1917 The Silent Sentinels, a  group of women in favor of women's suffrage,  organized by Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party. They protested in front of the White House during Woodrow Wilson's presidency starting on January 10, 1917.[

























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