Suffragists in An Imperial Age: U.S. Expansion and the Woman Question, 1870-1929

Synopsis

In 1899, Carrie Chapman Catt, who succeeded Susan B. Anthony as head of the National American Women Suffrage Association, argued that it was the "duty" of U.S. women to help lift the inhabitants of its new island possessions up from "barbarism" to "civilization," a project that would presumably demonstrate the capacity of U.S. women for full citizenship and political rights. Catt, like many suffragists in her day, was well-versed in the language of empire, and infused the cause of suffrage with imperialist zeal in public debate.

Unlike their predecessors, who were working for votes for women within the context of slavery and abolition, the next generation of suffragists argued their case against the backdrop of the U.S. expansionism into Indian and Mormon territory at home as well as overseas in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In this book, Allison L. Sneider carefully examines these simultaneous political movements--woman suffrage and American imperialism--as inextricably intertwined phenomena, instructively complicating the histories of both.