Harriet May Mills wrote, "A memorable day in the history of the battle for human freedom was May 4, 1912. The numbers who marched exceeded all expectations. So did the crowds who watched the long procession. It marked the last stage of woman's struggle for liberty. Nothing like it has our American world ever seen."
Harriet Burton Laidlaw authored a brief article entitled "Purity in Politics." Laidlaw wrote, "The vitality and the optimism of this great woman suffrage movement were expressed in the parade. Everyone in line felt the electric current of hope and high purpose, and I do not doubt that the people on the curb felt the stir of it. The anti-suffragist is, in last analysis, a pessimist, the suffragist, an indomitable optimist. One gazes forever into the past, fears the present, doubts the hope of the future. The other draws inspiration from the past, ever reconstructs in the present, and, inspired by the blessed vision of the future whose foundation she is glad to have some small part in building, 'presses onward toward the mark for the prize of her high calling."
The Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, pictured here at the parade, described the parade in the following terms, "This parade was one of the best and greatest exhibitions of the determination of women to win that we have ever seen. It was magnificent in effect and generalship."
Compare and contrast the above evaluations of the suffrage parade with the poem describing it below.
THE GREAT PARADE
"What are the women marching for?" said Child on Parade;
"To show their strength, to show their strength," the watching Anti said.
"What makes you smile, what makes you smile?" said Child-on-Parade.
"I'm adding two and two, you know," the watching Anti said,
"For they are marching, these eight thousand, you can hear the Dead March play,
In long procession, well got up, they show their strength to-day,
They've called 'em in from Jersey and Westchester far away,
And are marching, gaily marching 'neath the Yellow."
"Who are these nice young men I see?" said Child-on-Parade;
"From college halls, far college halls," the watching Anti said.
"What makes you laugh, my Anti, dear?" said Child-on-Parade.
"I'm thinking what it cost, my child," the watching Anti said,
"For they paid all their expenses and are marching 'em around,
And the boys are laughing silly at the good thing they have found
As they're marching, gaily marching for the Yellow."
"These older men, what do they here?" said Child-on-Parade;
"They're husbands trained and fathers bold," the watching Anti said.
"Eight thousand girls, six hundred men?" said Child-on-Parade.
"Yes, yes, my child, 'tis very clear," the watching Anti said,
The rest are with us Antis; you must mark 'em to their place,
For they're watching, meekly watching while their wives and
After votes and other baubles to the sex's deep disgrace,
While they're marching, gaily marching 'neath the Yellow."
"What's that so black against the sun?" said Child-on-Parade;
"The women fighting for their 'cause,' " the watching Anti said,
"What's that that whimpers over head?" said Child-on-Parade;
"The great revolt that's coming now," the watching Anti said.
"For sixty years they've taught their creed -- that's what their books all say --
Eight thousand girls in column is all they've got to-day,
While the Antis on the sidewalk grow stronger every day,
As they're marching' gaily marching from the Yellow."
E. R. M.
From The Woman’s Protest, June 1912, page 7.
For more information about the organizations that used of pressure politics, follow this link. You can also visit the web sites about the positions on woman suffrage held by the Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, and Socialists. These pages will also illustrate many of the arguments utilized by pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage forces in 1912.
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