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Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage

The Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage was an American organization formed in 1913 led by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns[1] to campaign for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women's suffrage. It was inspired by the United Kingdom's suffragette movement, which Paul and Burns had taken part in. Their continuous campaigning drew attention from congressmen, and in 1914 they were successful in forcing the amendment onto the floor for the first time in decades.[2][3]

Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage
Members of the Congressional Union 160076v.jpg
FormationApril 1913
Extinction1916
TypeNGO
Purpose"To secure an amendment to the United States Constitution enfranchising women" and to pass the ERA
HeadquartersWashington, DC
Key people
Alice Paul, Lucy Burns
Formerly called
National American Woman Suffrage Association Congressional Committee

Contents

Early historyEdit

Alice Paul created the Congressional Union after joining the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and gaining leadership of its Congressional Committee.[4] The CU was initiated to assist the NAWSA Congressional Committee and its officers were part of that committee. The CU shared the same goal with NAWSA, to gain an amendment to the United States Constitution giving all women the right to vote.[5] In the beginning, the CU worked within NAWSA to strengthen the declining Congressional Committee. In March 1913, after realizing the amount of work to be done, the CU became in charge of their own operations and funding but still remained affiliated with NAWSA. In the fall of 1913, Carrie Chapman Catt of NAWSA accused the CU of insubordination and financial irregularities, allegations which she later retracted.[3] The strategies of the two organizations were conflicting and NAWSA's leadership felt threatened.[3] In December 1913, the National American Woman Suffrage Association selected a new Congressional Committee and formally cut ties with the Congressional Union.[5]

InitiativeEdit

The Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage appealed to young women with a new approach in the fight for women's suffrage, inspired by the British suffragettes.[3] Alice Paul believed women should not have to beg for their rights.[6] Paul introduced some of the militant methods used by the Women's Social and Political Union in Britain to the CU and its members.[7] These included direct actions, organizing huge demonstrations, and the daily picketing of the White House.[3][7] The CU had 4,500 members and had raised more than $50,000 in funds by 1914.[7] Over time, the efforts of hundreds of members led to their arrest and sometimes imprisonment.[5]

OrganizationEdit

The Congressional Union's headquarters were located on F Street in Washington, D.C. near the Willard Hotel in a highly visible office which they paid for themselves.[2][5] They started women's "suffrage schools" to spread awareness about their cause and held multiple meetings each day.[2] The CU was never organized by states or districts, but there were different branches of the organization in a number of states. The Washington headquarters was central to their work but they were also a mobile organization.[5] The CU published a newspaper called The Suffragist, featuring articles by prominent members including Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and Inez Milholland. The newspaper employed Nina Allender as its main cartoonist, and also published cartoons by artists such as Cornelia Barns, Boardman Robinson and Marietta Andrews.[7]

CampaigningEdit

The Congressional Union actively campaigned for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing universal woman suffrage. Following the methods used by suffragettes in Britain, the CU fully blamed the majority party for failure to advance the Federal Suffrage Amendment.[5] The majority party at the time was the Democratic Party, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson was president. Members traveled west and campaigned against Democrats in hopes of impeding their reelection. They even campaigned against Democrats who approved women's suffrage, despite criticism from the National American Woman Suffrage Association. They traveled through the west by train while using a number of tactics to increase their visibility and their whistle-stop speeches attracted the attention of reporters. Their campaign resulted in the defeat of 20 democrats who supported suffrage, much to the dismay of NAWSA.[2]

National Woman's PartyEdit

The Congressional Union created the National Woman's Party at a meeting in Chicago in 1916.[2] The party included members of the Congressional Union, and Alice Paul was in charge.[2][4] A Campaign Committee was formed within the party with Anne Martin serving as chairman.[5] In 1917, the two organizations officially joined together to form the National Woman's Party (NWP) and elected Alice Paul as their chairman.[4][5]

States and state leadersEdit

When the National Women's Party was incorporated in 1918 there were forty-four states and the District of Columbia represented.[8]


National Committee of State ChairmenEdit

Florence Bayard Hilles as the National Committee Chairman and Miss Mary Ingham as secretary.

State Name City or town Notes Image
Alabama Sara Haardt Montgomery Head of the Alabama branch of the National Woman's Party.
Arizona Nellie A. Hayward Douglas Head of the Arizona branch of the National Woman's Party. Was assistant secretary of the 6th Arizona State Legislature, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives elected in 1918 from Cochise County, Arizona, and along with former suffrage leaders Rosa McKay, Pauline O'Neill, and Anna Westover, voted for the Susan B. Anthony Amendment that passed both houses without a dissenting vote.[9]
California Genevieve Allen San Francisco Head of the California branch of the National Woman's Party (NWP). A member of the National Women's Party seeking then U.S. Senator Warren G. Harding's support.  
Colorado Bertha W. Fowler Colorado Springs Head of the Colorado branch of the National Woman's Party. Dr. Caroline Spencer was secretary.  
Connecticut Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn (Mrs. Thomas N. Hepburn) Hartford Head of the Connecticut branch of the National Woman's Party and chairperson of the National Executive Committee of the NWP.  
Delaware Florence Bayard Hilles Wilmington Head of the Delaware branch of the National Woman's Party and a member of the national executive committee. Daughter of Thomas F. Bayard. Spent 3 days of a 60-day sentence for picketing the White House and was pardoned by President Wilson.  
District of Columbia Sheldon Jackson Head of the Washington D.C. branch of the National Woman's Party. A member of the group that called on Senator Harding for support.
Florida Helen Hunt Jacksonville Head of the Florida branch of the National Woman's Party. Hunt was a journalist and lawyer, born February 10, 1892, to Aaron and Lillian Hunt.[10]


Georgia Mrs. W.A. Maddox Atlanta Head of the Georgia branch of the National Woman's Party
Idaho Mrs. John E. White Twin Falls Head of the Idaho branch of the National Woman's Party
Illinois Mrs. Lola Maverick Lloyd Head of the Illinois branch of the National Woman's Party
Indiana Mrs. W.C. Bobbs Indianapolis Head of the Indiana branch of the National Woman's Party
Iowa Mrs. Florence Harsh Des Moines Head of the Iowa branch of the National Woman's Party
Kansas Mrs. Lilla Day Monroe Topeka Head of the Kansas branch of the National Woman's Party. President of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, editor of "The Club Member" and "The Kansas Woman?s Journal," and a was a founding member of the Good Government Club.[11]
Kentucky Edith Callahan Louisville Head of the Kentucky branch of the National Woman's Party.
Louisiana Mrs. E. G. Graham (Eleanor G. Graham) New Orleans Head of the Louisiana branch of the National Woman's Party.
Maine Florence Brooks Whitehouse (Mrs. Robert Treat Whitehouse) Portland, Maine Helped launch and served as first head of the Maine branch of the National Woman's Party.  
Maryland Mrs. Donald R. Hooker Baltimore Head of the Maryland branch of the National Woman's Party. Editor of the Maryland Suffrage News then The Suffragist.
Massachusetts Agnes H. Morey Brookline Head of the Massachusetts branch of the National Woman's Party. Her daughter, Katharine A. Morey (One of the Silent Sentinels), was also in the suffrage movement.  
Michigan Margaret Fay Whittemore (Mrs Nelson Whittemore; b. 1884) Detroit Head of the Michigan branch of the National Woman's Party. Was among the suffragists that kept watch fires in front of the White House to burn the President's speeches on democracy.[12]
Minnesota Sarah Tarleton Colvin (Mrs. A. R. Colvin) St. Paul Head of the Minnesota branch of the National Woman's Party.  
Mississippi Ann Calvert Neely Vicksburg, Mississippi Head of the Mississippi branch of the National Woman's Party.  
Missouri Mrs. H.B. Leavens Kansas Head of the Missouri branch of the National Woman's Party. Formed the Kansas City Woman Suffrage Association in 1911 along with others such as Dr. Dora Green, Helen Osborne (Secretary), Mrs. G.B. Longan, Mrs. Henry N. Ess (President), and Clara Cramer Leavens (Treasurer).[13]
Nebraska Mrs. W. E. Hardy Lincoln Head of the Nebraska branch of the National Woman's Party.
New Hampshire Mrs. Winfield Shaw Manchester Head of the New Hampshire branch of the National Woman's Party.
New Jersey Mrs. J. A. H. Hopkins Newark Head of the New Jersey branch of the National Woman's Party. Married to J. A. H. Hopkins, a member of The Committee of 48.
New Mexico Mrs. Arthur A. Kellam Albuquerque Head of the New Mexico branch of the National Woman's Party. Along with Florence Bayard Hilles (Delaware NWP chairperson) were members of the "Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense" met with President and Mrs. Wilson on Federal Suffrage Amendment.[14]
New York Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont Long Island Head of the New York branch of the National Woman's Party. Mrs. John Winters Brannan (acting)
North Carolina Mrs. E. St. Clair Spruce Pine Head of the North Carolina branch of the National Woman's Party.  
North Dakota Mrs. Chase Amidon Fargo Head of the North Dakota branch of the National Woman's Party.
Ohio Mrs. Valentine Winters Dayton Head of the Ohio branch of the National Woman's Party.
Oklahoma Miss Ida F. Hasley Oklahoma City
Oregon Mrs. W. J. Hawkins Head of the Oregon branch of the National Woman's Party.
Pennsylvania Miss Mary Ingham Philadelphia Head of the Pennsylvania branch of the National Woman's Party.
Rhode Island Mrs. Michael Van Beuran Newport Head of the Rhode Island branch of the National Woman's Party.
South Carolina Mrs. W. P. Vaughan Greenville Head of the South Carolina branch of the National Woman's Party.
South Dakota Mrs. A. R. Fellows Sioux Falls Head of the South Dakota branch of the National Woman's Party.
Tennessee Sue White Jackson Head of the Tennessee branch of the National Woman's Party.
Texas Mrs. Paul Millett Fort Worth Head of the Texas branch of the National Woman's Party.
Utah Mrs. Louise Garnett Salt Lake City Head of the Utah branch of the National Woman's Party.
Virginia Mrs. Sophie G. Meredith Richmond Head of the Virginia branch of the National Woman's Party.[16]
Washington Mrs. Sophie L. W. Clark Seattle Head of the Washington branch of the National Woman's Party.
West Virginia Miss Florence Hoge Wheeling Head of the West Virginia branch of the National Woman's Party.
Wisconsin Mrs. Frank Putnam Milwaukee Head of the Wisconsin branch of the National Woman's Party.
Wyoming Mrs. P. E. Glafcke Cheyenne Head of the Wyoming branch of the National Woman's Party.

Notable MembersEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Frost-Knappman, Elizabeth; Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn (2005). Women's Suffrage in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-8160-5693-4. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Weatherford, Doris (1998). A History of the American Suffragist Movement. Santa Barbara: The Moschovitis Group. pp. 197–205. ISBN 1576070654.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mead, Rebecca (2004). How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868–1914. New York: New York University Press. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0814757227.
  4. ^ a b c "National Woman's Party". Sewall-Belmont House & Museum. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Buhle, Paul; Buhle, Mari Jo (1978). The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections From History of Woman Suffrage. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 424–429. ISBN 0252006690.
  6. ^ Kraditor, Eileen (1965). The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890–1920. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 231–233. ISBN 0393014495.
  7. ^ a b c d e Simpkin, John (August 1, 2014). "Congressional Union for Women Suffrage". Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  8. ^ Gilman, Charlotte Perkins (2016). Suffragist, Volumes 8-9. p. 14. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  9. ^ Osselaer, Heidi J. (2016). Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950. University of Arizona Press. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  10. ^ Robison, Jim (October 31, 2004). "Florida's Helen Hunt Championed Suffrage". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  11. ^ Robison, Jim. "Mrs. E. G. Graham". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  12. ^ "Margaret Fay Whittemore (b. 1884)". Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  13. ^ Shoemaker, Floyd Calvin (1920). Missouri Historical Review. State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 321-325. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  14. ^ Gillmore, Inez Haynes (1922). The Story of the Woman's Party. Harcourt, Brace. p. 321-325. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  15. ^ Watkins, Rebecca. The Story of the Woman's Party. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 2019-04-16. Citing: Rebecca Watkins, "National Woman's Party," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma History.
  16. ^ Kollatz Jr., Harry (March 30, 2018). "The Zealous but Forgotten Pioneer". Richmondmag. Retrieved 2019-04-18.