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Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign

Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 296
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    Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign
    Book Description:

    Past biographies, histories, and government documents have ignored Alice Paul's contribution to the women's suffrage movement, but this groundbreaking study scrupulously fills the gap in the historical record. Masterfully framed by an analysis of Paul's nonviolent and visual rhetorical strategies, Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign narrates the remarkable story of the first person to picket the White House, the first to attempt a national political boycott, the first to burn the president in effigy, and the first to lead a successful campaign of nonviolence. _x000B__x000B_Katherine H. Adams and Michael L. Keene also chronicle other dramatic techniques that Paul deftly used to gain publicity for the suffrage movement. Stunningly woven into the narrative are accounts of many instances in which women were in physical danger. Rather than avoid discussion of Paul's imprisonment, hunger strikes, and forced feeding, the authors divulge the strategies she employed in her campaign. Paul's controversial approach, the authors assert, was essential in changing American attitudes toward suffrage.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09034-9
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xx)

    Who are the best known figures of the woman suffrage movement in the United States? Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. They had all died by 1906, however, and women did not achieve the vote until 1920. Who, then, carried on their work and secured the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment? The most common answer would be Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw, leaders of the largest suffrage organization, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), an amalgam of two associations that formed after the Civil War. After Anthony’s death, Catt and Shaw led the difficult...

  2. 1. Alice Paul’s Formation as Activist
    (pp. 1-20)

    In December of 1912, Alice Paul boarded a train in Philadelphia to move to Washington, D.C. She was on her way there to represent the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in Congress as chair of its Congressional Committee and thus as its official advocate of a federal suffrage amendment. At age twenty-seven, she went alone, with no place secured either to live or to work, and with a ten-dollar budget from NAWSA and an agreement that she would not ask for more. The association had been loath to trust her with this job; only Jane Addams’s argument for her...

  3. 2. The Commitment to Nonviolence
    (pp. 21-41)

    As Alice Paul began her suffrage work in Washington in December of 1912, she did so with a strong sense of testimony. Through her extensive experience with philanthropic work and her education in women’s history, she had come to realize that she did not want to limit her life’s work to helping working-class women cope with their poverty or to joining middle-class women in their slow-moving organizations. Her testimony was to involvecreating change—not just ameliorating or bemoaning the results of an unjust status quo. To achieve this change, she would rely on the tradition of nonviolence.

    As she...

  4. 3. Reaching the Group through Words and Pictures
    (pp. 42-75)

    In 1913 the women’s suffrage movement in the United States was dispersed over a large country, with countless groups functioning separately and with many of them discouraged by state defeats. In the spring of that year, as Alice Paul developed plans for her campaign, she sought a means of convincing these suffragists of the primacy of a federal amendment, of involving them in the successes possible through nonviolent action, and of acquainting them with the particulars of each upcoming event, a forum where she could use written and visual arguments to define her goals while promulgating an affirmative vision of...

  5. 4. Parades and Other Events: Escalating the Nonviolent Pressure
    (pp. 76-116)

    Throughout the campaign for suffrage, Alice Paul felt that her combination of individual letters, circular letters, theSuffragist,and press bulletins provided the necessary written persuasion for her supporters and the larger public. But Paul also felt—as did Gandhi—that the successful nonviolent campaign could not be run with written appeals or speeches alone. Like other Quakers who had served as witnesses for social reform, Paul believed in the compelling power of the rhetorical scene or moment, the lasting impact of visual rhetoric.

    Beginning in 1913 Paul created a changing panoply of visual events that brought the suffrage movement...

  6. 5. Lobbying and Deputations
    (pp. 117-140)

    As Alice Paul established her organization and began planning nonviolent events, she was aware that parades and tours might not by themselves accomplish her goals of educating a legislature, president, and nation. She knew that she had to find ways to go directly to leaders of the Democratic Party and to Woodrow Wilson, who in his first term initiated legislation on tariff reform, the Federal Reserve, monopolies and labor, and the Panama Canal but refused to take any action on suffrage.

    From the beginning, Paul sought not just periodic public events but also regular meetings at the Capitol and in...

  7. 6. The Political Boycott
    (pp. 141-156)

    As Alice Paul pursued legislators and the president with the twin goals of educating them about suffrage and publicizing their repeated denials of women’s rights, she was also trying to bring pressure on them during elections, to make use of the power women already had as voters in the West. Along with staging parades and other events, lobbying, and sending deputations, Paul initiated a more aggressive political effort, a nonviolent women’s boycott in all states where women could vote: nine states in 1914 and eleven in 1916. Ultimately, she wanted to assert that women could turn the men in power...

  8. 7. Picketing Wilson
    (pp. 157-190)

    At the end of 1916, Paul felt that new techniques would be necessary to make a further impact on Wilson and his Democratic Party. Suffragists had lobbied assiduously. They had met with Wilson within the White House and without. They had held parades, mounted tableaux, and traveled cross-country. They had boycotted the Democratic Party and Wilson himself. But after he was reelected and after anger was his only response to the Milholland deputation, Paul and her followers knew they were at a dead end. Though many adherents and a great deal of publicity had been gained at each step along...

  9. 8. Hunger Strikes and Jail
    (pp. 191-214)

    To engage Americans and gain their sympathy, throughout the fall Paul was shifting the focus of her rhetoric, maintaining the picket line and banners but emphasizing the jail terms that shocked newspaper readers across the country. Women continued to picket, continued to be arrested and given sentences; and Paul seemed to be resending the same women to court the longer jail sentences that could demonstrate, to the press and the public, their determination and unity. As these women returned to the picket line, they entered prisons in large numbers. In October, for example, there were seventy women in two jails,...

  10. 9. At Nonviolent War
    (pp. 215-242)

    A year of picketing, arrests, punishments, and abuse, which had begun with Inez Milholland’s death on November 25, 1916, had certainly given the National Woman’s Party (NWP) a national audience. Alice Paul and her supporters could not be ignored. Even some conservative groups and publications had come to respect the determination of these women. More and more people were coming to feel that in dealing with them the government had moved from protection to persecution. In February of 1918 William Randolph Hearst’sGood Housekeeping, a conservative journal for American housewives, stated that this publication supported suffrage, not picketing, but it...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 243-248)

    The Sixty-Sixth Congress convened on May 19, 1919, with the president at the Peace Conference in Versailles. The NWP worked on getting prosuffrage Democrats and the president to influence those senators who still opposed the amendment. Wilson had met, for example, with Democrat William J. Harris of Georgia, who went from Italy to France to consult with him about suffrage. With Harris and other senators, Wilson argued that the Democratic Party’s future could be made or ruined by its action at that time. Many newspapers recognized the irony that Democrats, who had opposed a federal amendment for so many years,...