Culture at Twilight: The National German-American Alliance, 1901-1918

By Charles Thomas Johnson | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

The Alliance At High Tide, 1910—1914

The last years of peace before World War One permit ted the German- American Alliance to maintain a focus on domestic concerns in the United States and broaden the scope of its activities beyond the question of prohibition. The group involved itself in such familiar issues as immigration restriction, women's suffrage, teaching of the German language in public schools, German-American history, and world peace during a time of increasing international tension. It was also a period when the Alliance came into direct contact with the brewing and liquor interests that viewed the NGA A as a powerful ally in the fight to prevent prohibition. By August 1914 funding from the brewers helped establish the Alliance as one of the most visible opponents of prohibition. This financial assistance also freed up the group's own funds, allowing it to target issues besides the anti-prohibition campaign— though the main focus would remain on the liquor question.

One issue the NGA A confronted was women's suffrage. By 1910 women could vote in five states. While this was not a large number, the National American Women's Suffrage Association had given the movement new and effective leadership. Formed in 1890 by the union of the American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association, the NAWSA slowly achieved victorie s in state after state. From its inception the main goal of the NAWSA was an amendment giving women the right to vote. 1

Not all women shared the views of the NAWSA. A majority of German and Irish women in America viewed suffrage as a threat to their traditional customs. 2 For these women the role of the female was to bear and raise future leaders, not elect them to office. This notion of the female role in society was similar to the concept of “Republican Motherhood” that existed during much of the nineteenth century. A basic tenant of this belief was that only women could instill morality

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