Organizations

 

            Americans did not always voice their opinions about woman's suffrage individually. Instead, many joined together into organizations committed to either supporting or opposing woman's suffrage. By 1912, the national organizations advocating the extension of the franchise had little cohesion and national influence, as suffragists focused on a state-by-state strategy. This approach changed after the elections of 1912, and by 1913 the national effort was reinvigorated.

           Launched in New York City in the late 1860s by Susan B. Anthony (pictured to the right) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) united with the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), led by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward (pictured below) in 1890. This newer, larger National American Woman Suffrage Association led the national movement up through the 1912 debates.

Inspired by more militant British suffragists, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns created a more radical organization, the Congressional Union (later the the National Woman's Party.) The activities of the Congressional Union made the more sedate measures of the NAWSA, in contrast, seem more reasonable and less threatening to many Americans.

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In 1911, a number of conservative, generally wealthy, women formed the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, with Mrs. Arthur Dodge as its leader. As the main voice of the "antis," this organization drew support from brewers, distillers, urban political machines, Southern politicians and large business interests. These people probably took exception to Julia Ward Howe's statement that she had "always found the advocates of woman suffrage occupying the higher moral ground than that held by their opponents."

        For a greater sense of the chronology of the woman's suffrage movement and its organizations, visit the website http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/naw/nawshome.html

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