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Women's Suffrage the Suffrage Question Term Paper

Pages:2 (933 words)


Topic:Women Suffrage

Document Type:Term Paper


They argued that women would not have any reforming effect on the country because they would vote with their husbands (opposite of what they argued earlier). In states where they already had the vote, they had made no difference. Finally, they argued that women didn't really want the vote, anyway. This last charge had some truth to it. Susan B. Anthony observed that the apathy of most women about the vote was the biggest obstacle for the movement. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 said that women would get the vote when "women as a whole show any special interest in the matter" (Woloch 242).

Terborg-Penn (113) points out that between 1910 and 1920 middle-class black women became active in the cause. She states that black feminists could never overlook the issue of racism; for them, it wasn't just a matter of being women; their color was a major cause of oppression. They wrote articles, held rallies, and gave speeches to persuade passage of an amendment. Despite their activities on behalf of the cause, they were not accepted by white women suffragists who discriminated against them. Carrie Chapman Catt, for example, urged Southern white delegates not to attend the conference in Chicago in 1916 because she said "the Chicago delegation would be mostly black" (115). By endorsing racism, she hoped to keep southern white women happy. Fear of the black woman's vote in the South was a major impediment, and getting Southern support meant excluding black women whose suffrage activities were channeled through their social clubs. Black suffragists became very disillusioned because of constant discrimination against them.

In 1915 the Women's Peace Party was organized. Carrie Chapman Catt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Jane Addams were active in it. But a conflict emerged during World War I between the Women's Peace Party and the Woman's Suffrage Movement.

Since 1869 suffragists had argued that if women got the vote, they would control war by voting for candidates committed to peace. However, when World War I broke out, Catt did not think it politically advantageous for the movement to take an unpopular stand against the war. Women who were against the war would have been perceived as anti-patriotic. That would have spelled doom for the support they had obtained for the vote. Various candidates and organizations that had come out in support of women would have rescinded if suffragists had come out against the war. We have only to see what happened to the Dixie Chicks recently to know what would have happened to women's sufferage then. Getting the vote would likely have been delayed again.


Sklar, Kathryn Kish and Thomas Dublin. Women and Power in American History. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience: A…

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