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No Votes for Women

No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    No Votes for Women
    Book Description:

    No Votes for Women explores the complicated history of the suffrage movement in New York State by delving into the stories of women who opposed the expansion of voting rights to women. Susan Goodier finds that conservative women who fought against suffrage encouraged women to retain their distinctive feminine identities as protectors of their homes and families, a role they felt was threatened by the imposition of masculine political responsibilities. She details the victories and defeats on both sides of the movement from its start in the 1890s to its end in the 1930s, acknowledging the powerful activism of this often overlooked and misunderstood political force in the history of women's equality.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09467-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    As the founders of the United States debated the role of government and its relationship to the people, as they composed their documents establishing a unique and enduring nation, they gave virtually no thought to the rights and position of women in the polity. The Constitution never directly mentioned women. Women’s participation in citizenship was not even implied, and voting rights, left to individual states to determine, usually related to property ownership at a time when most property belonged to men.¹ The core ideas of democracy, heavily influenced by policymakers’ understanding of English common law, kept married women from a...

  5. 1. Anti-Suffragists at the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention
    (pp. 15-39)

    The New York World called it an “insurrection.” In anticipation of the New York constitutional convention to be held in the summer of 1894, women all over the state responded to the call for the enfranchisement of women. For months, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Dr. Mary Walker, Anna Howard Shaw, Lillie Devereux Blake, Mariana W. Chapman, Harriet May Mills, and other prominent state and national suffrage leaders toured the state, urging support for their cause in parlors and public places. During an address given in Albany, someone asked Anthony if the women of New York...

  6. 2. Establishing New York State Anti-Suffrage Organizations, 1895–1911
    (pp. 40-66)

    Within the year following the 1894 constitutional convention in New York, the colors of the suffrage and anti-suffrage factions again “streamed from Camp Sherry and Camp Waldorf.” Male observers, “to whom it is all very incomprehensible, though very amusing,” awaited the coming struggle between antis and suffragists “from such safe points of view as they may be able to secure,” according to the New York Times.¹ The reporter’s view illustrates the public perception of the escalating tensions between anti-suffrage and suffrage women in the waning years of the century. Soon, some would claim that “women hate each other,” although admitting...

  7. 3. Antis Win the New York State Campaign, 1912–1915
    (pp. 67-92)

    When the Titanic plunged 1,513 passengers and crew members to their deaths on April 12, 1912, people ascribed various meanings to the event in an attempt to make sense of the tragedy. Even before the survivors made it to New York City, belief in the exemplary behavior of the “first-cabin” men aboard the ship provided evidence for anti-suffragists that men would follow the law of the sea—“Women and Children First”—in politics as they had in the icy North Atlantic.¹ The myth of male heroism reinforced traditional gender roles and served as ideal support for anti-suffrage arguments. The debut...

  8. 4. Suffragists Win the New York State Campaign, 1915–1917
    (pp. 93-117)

    On April 23, 1914, Josephine Jewell Dodge, president of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, sent telegrams to President Woodrow Wilson and Mabel Boardman of the Red Cross affirming that anti-suffragists believed in leaving the “decision of the policy of peace or war to the men of the nation, but in case of war” the organization stood “ready to render to the nation such service as American women have always rendered in like emergencies.”¹ It was one day after three marines were killed in Veracruz during the invasion and occupation of Mexico by the United States.² That same day,...

  9. 5. Using Enfranchisement to Fight Woman Suffrage, 1917–1932
    (pp. 118-141)

    Alice Hill Chittenden vacillated as she contemplated her response to the November 1917 woman suffrage referendum. Her initial public reaction to the lost battle indicated her perspective on the proper role of women during wartime: “Let us all quit being suffragists and anti-suffragists, and just be women backing up the men in every phase of fighting the war.”¹ At the November 15 meeting of the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, Chittenden encouraged anti-suffragists “to line up with the several political parties.” Personally, she would “probably join the Republicans” as her “affiliations have been entirely with the G.O.P.”²...

  10. 6. Antis Adjust to Enfranchisement, 1917–1932
    (pp. 142-164)

    After spending twenty-five years opposing woman suffrage, Annie Nathan Meyer had some difficulty adjusting to her changed political status. Meyer, an intellectual maverick and one who never backed down from criticism or an argument, fired off an editorial to the New York Times ordering anti-suffrage women not to vote.¹ Antis, Meyer declared, should let socialist and radical factions win “just once” to show governmental leaders how widespread radicalism had become. Public censure was swift and brutal.² An editor for the Chicago Herald wrote that because Meyer believed that “the grant of woman’s suffrage having put the country in a bad...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 165-174)

    During the presidential campaign of 1928 the women of the Women’s National Republican Club held a mock convention to poke fun at the men who refused to let women into the inner sanctums of real power. It was not unusual for male Republican Party members to hold a “Gridiron Day” or “Amen Corner meetings” to poke fun at themselves. The women’s mock convention was an elaborate all-day affair held under the auspices of the Women’s National Republican Club National Affairs Committee on the roof garden of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.¹ Ostensibly called for educational purposes, participants accurately represented...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 175-236)
  13. References
    (pp. 237-248)
  14. Index
    (pp. 249-256)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 257-263)