Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited

By Jean H. Baker | Go to book overview

7
FEMALE OPPOSITION
The Anti-Suffrage Campaign
Thomas Jablonsky

It may be difficult for Americans in the twenty-first century to comprehend how a sizable group of women could spend a half century in organized opposition to the right of women to vote. The notion of refusing to embrace political equality is the antithesis of history's direction since the American and French Revolutions. Yet the saga of America's female antisuffragists reveals not only the subtleties of our political tradition but also the evolution of women's place in U.S. society.

The women who opposed woman suffrage did so for decades. Both the individuals involved and the reasons for their opposition changed over time. Antisuffragists saw the female franchise as a threat to the United States and to themselves as women. Thus, they banded together to publish and lobby and debate in a protracted struggle to stop female enfranchisement. Antisuffragists established state organizations and, eventually, a National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. Some of the local affiliates were dynamic and well developed, while others were organizations in name only. In the end, when the Nineteenth Amendment became the law of the land in 1920, some antis adjusted with remarkable ease. Others found the new political world of the twentieth century more than they could accept and continued a belated fight to turn back the clock.

Throughout their half-century of activism, antisuffragists remained consistent in their perceptions of what could be tolerated as appropriate political behavior for women, but they changed over time in their ac-

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Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents ix
  • Contributors xi
  • Votes for Women *
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 20
  • 1 - The Case for Reform Antecedents for the Woman's Rights Movement 21
  • Notes 40
  • 2 - Sojourner Truth, Frances Watkins Harper, and the Struggle for Woman Suffrage 42
  • Notes *
  • 3 - The New York Woman's Movement and the Civil War 56
  • Notes 72
  • 4 - American Expansion and the Politics of Federalism, 1870–1890 77
  • Notes 87
  • 5 - Woman Suffrage in the West 90
  • Note 101
  • 6 - Southern Suffragists, the Nawsa, and the “Southern Strategy” in Context 102
  • Notes 114
  • 7 - The Anti-Suffrage Campaign 118
  • Notes 129
  • 8 - The Winning Plan 130
  • 9 - America and the Pankhursts 143
  • Notes 156
  • 10 - Harriot Stanton Blatch and Grassroots Politics 159
  • Note 173
  • 11 - Alice Paul and the Politics of Nonviolent Protest 174
  • Notes 186
  • Epilogue 189
  • Notes 194
  • Bibliography 197
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