Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800-1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Karlyn Kohrs Campbell | Go to book overview

CARRIE LANE CHAPMAN CATT

(1859-1947), leadership for woman suffrage and peace

DAVID S. BIRDSELL

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt's rhetorical career stretched from the late 1880s to shortly before her death in 1947. Though best known as president of NAWSA, first as SUSAN B. ANTHONY's successor, 1900-1904 and then from 1916 through ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, she was also an early advocate of international woman suffrage efforts and, after 1920, a prominent peace activist. A second-generation suffragist, she inherited a powerful rhetorical tradition but a small power base. By 1904, only four states had full woman suffrage. A pragmatist, she devoted herself as chair of NAWSA's National Organization Committee and as president to political organization, first of the various state campaigns and then, from 1916 on, of the national amendment struggle ( Fowler, 1986:105-154). Concern for organization also figured prominently in her peace work, for example, "What Shall We Do About War?" ( December 8, 1936), but here she used rhetorical means that differed notably from her efforts as a suffragist.

Lane Catt was an indefatigable speaker. For a dissertation on her oratorical career, Ima Fuchs Clevenger collected full or partial texts of 723 speeches from 185 speaking tours (61). Many other speeches were given but not recorded ( Peck, 1944; HWS 4:213). She also wrote extensively for the Woman's Journal, the Woman Citizen, and other publications. Sheer volume makes impractical a piece- by-piece review of her rhetoric. Instead, I present an overview of her rhetorical practice, followed by analysis of her suffrage speeches, emphasizing her arguments and style, with particular attention to matters that have received little stress in earlier studies. Finally, I analyze her peace rhetoric, emphasizing its sometimes radical departures from her earlier work.


OVERVIEW OF HER RHETORIC

Lane Catt understood speechmaking as an effective tool. She did not consider herself an expert speaker and rarely spoke to entertain ( Clevenger, 1955:61-62). When asked to describe herself as a speaker, she told a story from an 1895 tour through the South that she made with Susan B. Anthony. After one speech, Lane Catt was bitterly disappointed with her performance.

When we went to the place at which we were staying, I asked Miss Anthony if she ever felt that she had made so bad a speech that she never wanted to make another for that was the way I felt. She replied: "Why, I always feel that way." In a few moments she came to me and said: "After I thought about it a little, I concluded that poor speeches were better than no speeches at all, so I have gone right on." That was really the philosophy

-321-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800-1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 512

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.