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Jailed for Freedom by Doris Stevens

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Prepared by:
Samuel R. Brown

Page numbers for scholarly reference are shown in curled brackets
thus {45} throughout the text. The page number is placed at the
start of the text of the printed page. Footnotes are shown in
square brackets thus [1] and are placed at the bottom of the page.


Jailed for Freedom

By Doris Stevens



To Alice Paul

Through Whose Brilliant and Devoted Leadership the Women of
America Have Been Able to Consummate with Gladness and Gallant
Courage Their Long Struggle for Political Liberty, This Book is
Affectionately Dedicated


Blank page



This book deals with the intensive campaign of the militant
suffragists of America [1913-1919] to win a solitary thing-the
passage by Congress of the national suffrage amendment
enfranchising women. It is the story of the first organized
militant ,political action in America to this end. The militants
differed from the pure propagandists in the woman suffrage
movement chiefly in that they had a clear comprehension of the
forces which prevail in politics. They appreciated the necessity
of the propaganda stage and the beautiful heroism of those who
had led in the pioneer agitation, but they knew that this stage
belonged to the past; these methods were no longer necessary or

For convenience sake I have called Part II "Political Action,"
and Part III "Militancy," although it will be perceived that the
entire campaign was one of militant political action. The
emphasis, however, in Part II is upon political action, although
certainly with a militant mood. In Part III dramatic acts of
protest, such as are now commonly called militancy, are given
emphasis as they acquired a greater importance during the latter
part of the campaign. This does not mean that all militant deeds
were not committed for a specific political purpose. They were.
But militancy is as much a state of mind, an approach to a task,
as it is the commission of deeds of protest. It is the state of
mind of those who is their fiery idealism do not lose sight of
the real springs of human action.

There are two ways in which this story might be told. It might be
told as a tragic and harrowing tale of martyrdom. Or it might be
told as a ruthless enterprise of compelling a hostile
administration to subject women to martyrdom in order to hasten
its surrender. The truth is, it has elements of both ruthlessness
and martyrdom. And I have tried to make them appear in a true
proportion. It is my sincere hope that you


will understand and appreciate the martyrdom involved, for it was
the conscious voluntary gift of beautiful, strong and young
hearts. But it was never martyrdom for its own sake. It was
martyrdom used for a practical purpose.

The narrative ends with the passage of the amendment by Congress.
The campaign for ratification, which extended over fourteen
months, is a story in itself. The ratification of the amendment
by the 36th and last state legislature proved as difficult to
secure from political leaders as the 64th and last vote in the
United States Senate.

This book contains my interpretations, which are of course
arguable. But it is a true record of events.

Doris Stevens.
New York, August, 1920.



Preface {vii}

Part I


1 A Militant Pioneer-Susan B. Anthony {3}
2 A Militant General-Alice Paul {10}

Part II

Political Action

1 Women Invade the Capital {21}
2 Women Voters Organize {35}
3 The Last Deputation to—President Wilson {48}

Part III


1 Picketing a President {63}
2 The Suffrage War Policy {80}
3 The First Arrests {91}
4 Occoquan Workhouse {99}
5 August Riots {122}
6 Prison Episodes {141}
7 An Administration Protest-Dudley Field Malone Resigns {158}
8 The Administration Yields {171}
9 Political Prisoners {175}
10 The Hunger Strike-A Weapon {184}
11 Administration Terrorism {192}
12 Alice Paul in Prison {210}


13 Administration-Lawlessness Exposed {229}
14 The Administration Outwitted {241}
15 Political Results {248}
16 An Interlude (Seven Months) {259}
17 New Attacks on the President {271}
18 The President Appeals to the Senate Too Late {280}
19 More Pressure {295}
20 The President Sails Away {301}
21 Watchfires of Freedom {305}
22 Burned in Effigy {314}
23 Boston Militants Welcome the President {319}
24 Democratic Congress Ends {326}
25 A Farewell to President Wilson {330}
26 President Wilson Wins the 64th Vote in Paris {336}
27 Republican Congress Passes Amendment {341}
Appendices {347}



[Note: The photographs and illustrations appearing in this book
are available on the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium
website www.ctdlc.org Follow the link to the Connecticut TALENT

Alice Paul
Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont
Democrats Attempt to Counteract Woman’s Party Campaign
Inez Milholland Boissevain
Scene of Memorial Service-Statuary Hall, the Capitol
Scenes on the Picket Line
Monster Picket-March 4, 1917
Officer Arrests Pickets
Women Put into Police Patrol
Suffragists in Prison Costume
Fellow Prisoners
Sewing Room at Occoquan Workhouse
Riotous Scenes on Picket Line
Dudley Field Malone
Lucy Burns
Mrs. Mary Nolan, Oldest Picket
Miss Matilda Young, Youngest Picket
Forty-One Women Face Jail
Prisoners Released
“Lafayette We Are Here”
Wholesale Arrests
Suffragists March to LaFayette Monument
Torch-Bearer, and Escorts


Some Public Men Who Protested Against Imprisonment of Suffragists
Abandoned Jail
Prisoners on Straw Pallets on Jail Floor
Pickets at Capitol
Senate Pages and Capitol Police Attack Pickets
The Urn Guarded by Miss Berthe Arnold
The Bell Which Tolled the Change of Watch
Watchfire “Legal”
Watchfire Scattered by Police-Dr. Caroline Spencer Rebuilding it
One Hundred Women Hold Public Conflagration
Pickets in Front of Reviewing Stand, Boston
Mrs. Louise Sykes Burning President Wilson’s Speech on Boston
Suffrage Prisoners


“I do pray, and that most earnestly and constantly, for some
terrific shock to startle the women o f the nation into a self-
respect which mill compel them to, see the absolute degradation o
f their present position; which will compel them to break their
yoke of bondage and give them faith in themselves; which will
make them proclaim their allegiance to women first . . . . The
fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more
debasing because they do not realize it. O to compel them to see
and feel and to give them the courage and the conscience to speak
and act for their own freedom, though they face the scorn and
contempt of all the world for doing it!"

Susan B. Anthony, 1872.


Blank page


Part I



Blank page


Chapter 1

A Militant Pioneer-Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was the first militant suffragist. She has been
so long proclaimed only as the magnificent pioneer that few
realize that she was the first woman to defy the law for the
political liberty of her sex.

The militant spirit was in her many early protests. Sometimes
these protests were supported by one or two followers; more often
they were solitary protests. Perhaps it is because of their
isolation that they stand out so strong and beautiful in a
turbulent time in our history when all those about her were
making compromises.

It was this spirit which impelled her to keep alive the cause of
the enfranchisement of women during the passionate years of the
Civil War. She held to the last possible moment that no national
exigency was great enough to warrant abandonment of woman's fight
for independence. But one by one her followers deserted her. She
was unable to keep even a tiny handful steadfast to this
position. She became finally the only figure in the nation
appealing for the rights of women when the rights of black men
were agitating the public mind. Ardent abolitionist as she was,
she could not tolerate without indignant protest the exclusion of
women in all discussions of emancipation. The suffrage war policy
of Miss Anthony can be compared to that of the militants a half
century later when confronted with the problem of this country's
entrance into the world war.

The war of the rebellion over and the emancipation of the


negro man written into the constitution, women contended they had
a right to vote under the new fourteenth amendment. Miss Anthony
led in this agitation, urging all women to claim the right to
vote under this amendment. In the national election of 187'2 she
voted in Rochester, New York, her home city, was arrested, tried
and convicted of the crime of "voting without having a lawful
right to vote."

I cannot resist giving a brief excerpt from the court records of
this extraordinary case, so reminiscent is it of the cases of the
suffrage pickets tried nearly fifty years later in the courts of
the national capital.

After the prosecuting attorney had presented the government's
case, Judge Hunt read his opinion, said to have been written
before the case had been heard, and directed the jury to bring in
a verdict of guilty. The jury was dismissed without deliberation
and a new trial was refused. On the following day this scene took
place in that New York court room.

JUDGE HUNT (Ordering the defendant to stand up)-Has the prisoner
anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?

Miss ANTHONY-Yes, your Honor, I have many things to say; for in
your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot
every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my
civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all
alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of
citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that
of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all my sex
are, by your Honor's verdict doomed to political subjection under
this so-called republican form of government.

JUDGE HUNT-The Court cannot. listen to a rehearsal of argument
which the prisoner's counsel has already consumed three hours in

Miss ANTHONY-May it please your Honor, I am not arguing the
question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence


cannot in justice be pronounced against me. Your denial of my
citizen's right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as
one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as
one taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by jury of my peers
as an offender against law; therefore, the denial of my sacred
right to life, liberty, property, and

JUDGE HUNT-The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.

Miss ANTHONY-But, your Honor will not deny me this one and only
poor privilege of protest against this highhanded outrage upon my
citizen's rights. May it please the Court to remember that since
the day of my arrest last November this is the first time that
either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been
allowed a word of defense before judge or jury

JUDGE HUNT-The prisoner must sit down, the Court cannot allow it.

Miss ANTHONY-Of all my persecutors from the corner grocery
politician who entered the complaint, to the United States
marshal, commissioner, district attorney, district judge, your
Honor on the bench, not one is my peer, but each and all are my
political sovereigns . . . . Precisely as no disfranchised person
is entitled to sit upon the jury and no woman is entitled to the
franchise, so none but a regularly admitted lawyer is allowed to
practice in the courts, and no woman can gain admission to the
bar-hence, jury, judge, counsel, all must be of superior class.

JUDGE HUNT-The Court must insist-the prisoner has been tried
according to the established forms of law.

Miss ANTHONY-Yes, your Honor, but by forms of law, all made by
men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men and
against women; and hence your Honor's ordered verdict of guilty,
against a United States citizen for the exercise of the
"citizen's right to vote," simply because that


citizen was a woman and not a man . . . . As then the slaves who
got their freedom had to take it over or under or through the
unjust forms of the law, precisely so now must women take it to
get their right to a voice in this government; and I have taken
mine, and mean to take it at every opportunity.

JUDGE Hunt-The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not
allow another word.

Miss ANTHONY-When I was brought before your Honor for trial I
hoped for a broad interpretation of the constitution and its
recent amendments, which should declare all United States
citizens under its protecting aegis . . . . But failing to get
this justice, failing even to get a trial by a jury-not of my
peers-I ask not leniency at your-hands but rather the full rigor
of the law.

JUDGE HUNT-The Court must insist (here the prisoner sat down).
The prisoner will stand up. (Here Miss Anthony rose again.) The
sentence of the Court is that you pay a fine of $100.00 and the
costs of the prosecution.

Miss ANTHONY-May it please your Honor, I will never pay a dollar
of your unjust penalty . . . . And I shall earnestly and
persistently continue to urge all women to the practical
recognition of the old Revolutionary maxim, "Resistance to
tyranny is obedience to God."

JUDGE HUNT-Madam, the Court will not order you stand committed
until the fine is paid.

Miss Anthony did not pay her fine and was never imprisoned. I
believe the fine stands against her to this day.

On the heels of this sensation came another of those dramatic
protests which until the very end she always combined with
political agitation. The nation was celebrating its first
centenary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence at
Independence Square, Philadelphia. After women had been refused
by all in authority a humble half moment in which to present to
the Centennial the Women's Declaration of Rights,


Miss Anthony insisted on being heard. Immediately after the
Declaration of Independence had been read by a patriot, she led a
committee of women, who with platform tickets had slipped through
the military, straight down the center aisle of the platform to
address the chairman, who pale with fright and powerless to stop
the demonstration had to accept her document. Instantly the
platform, graced as it was by national dignitaries and crowned
heads, was astir. The women retired, distributing to the gasping
spectators copies of their Declaration. Miss Anthony had reminded
the nation of the hollowness of its celebration of an
independence that excluded women.

Susan B. Anthony's aim was the national enfranchisement of women.
As soon as she became convinced that the constitution would have
to be specifically amended to include woman suffrage, she set
herself to this gigantic task. For a quarter of a century she
appealed to Congress for action and to party. conventions for
suffrage endorsement. When, however, she saw that Congress was
obdurate, as an able and intensely practical leader she
temporarily directed the main energy of the suffrage movement to
trying to win individual states. With women holding the balance
of political power, she argued, the national government will be
compelled to act. She knew so well the value of power. She went
to the West to get it.

She was a shrewd tactician; with prophetic insight, without
compromise. To those women who would yield to party expediency as
advised by men, or be diverted into support of other measures,
she made answer in a spirited letter to Lucy Stone:

"So long as you and I and all women are political slaves, it ill
becomes us to meddle with the weightier discussions of our'
sovereign masters. It will be quite time enough for us, with
self-respect, to declare ourselves for or against any party upon


the intrinsic merit of its policy, when men shall recognize us as
their political equals . . . .

"If all the suffragists of all the States could see eye to eye on
this point, and stand shoulder to shoulder against every
party and politician not fully and unequivocally committed to
`Equal Rights for Women,' we should become at once the moral
balance of power which could not fail to compel the party of
highest intelligence to proclaim woman suffrage the chief plank
of its platform . . . . Until that good day comes, I shall
continue to invoke the party in power, and each party struggling
to get into power, to pledge itself to the emancipation of our
enslaved half of the people . . . ."

She did not live to see enough states grant suffrage in the West
to form a balance of power with which to carry out this policy.
She did not live to turn this power upon an unwilling Congress.
But she stood to the last, despite this temporary change of
program, the great dramatic protagonist of national freedom for
women and its achievement through rebellion and practical

With the passing of Miss Anthony and her leadership, the movement
in America went conscientiously on endeavoring to pile up state
after state in the "free column." Gradually her followers lost
sight of her aggressive attack and her objective-the
enfranchisement of women by Congress. They did not sustain her
tactical wisdom. This reform movement, like all others when
stretched over a long period of time, found itself confined in a
narrow circle of routine propaganda. It lacked the power and
initiative to extricate itself. Though it had many eloquent
agitators with devoted followings, it lacked generalship.

The movement also lost Miss Anthony's militant spirit, her keen
appreciation of the fact that the attention of the nation must be
focussed on minority issues by dramatic acts of protest.


Susan B. Anthony's fundamental objective, her political attitude
toward attaining it, and her militant spirit were revived in
suffrage history in 1913 when Alice Paul, also of Quaker
background, entered the national field as leader of the new
suffrage forces in America.


Chapter 2

A Militant General—Alice Paul

Most people conjure up a menacing picture when a person is called
not only a general, but a militant one. In appearance Alice Paul
is anything but menacing. Quiet, almost mouselike, this frail
young Quakeress sits in silence and baffles you with her
contradictions. Large, soft, gray eyes that strike you with a
positive impact make you feel the indescribable force and power
behind them. A mass of soft brown hair, caught easily at the
neck, makes the contour of her head strong and graceful. Tiny,
fragile hands that look more like an X-ray picture of hands, rest
in her lap in Quakerish pose. Her whole atmosphere when she is
not in action is one of strength and quiet determination. In
action she is swift, alert, almost panther-like in her movements.
Dressed always in simple frocks, preferably soft shades of
purple, she conforms to an individual style and taste of her own
rather than to the prevailing vogue.

I am going recklessly on to try to tell what I think about Alice
Paul. It is difficult, for when I begin to put it down on paper,
I realize how little we know about this laconic person, and yet
how abundantly we feel her power, her will and her compelling
leadership. In an instant and vivid reaction, I am either
congealed or inspired; exhilarated or depressed; sometimes even
exasperated, but always moved. I have seen her very presence in
headquarters change in the twinkling of an eye the mood of fifty
people. It is not through their affections


that she moves them, but through a naked force, a vital force
which is indefinable but of which one simply cannot be unaware.
Aiming primarily at the intellect of an audience or an
individual, she almost never fails to win an emotional

I shall never forget my first contact with her. I tell it here as
an illustration of what happened to countless women who came in
touch with her to remain under her leadership to the end. I had
come to Washington to take part in the demonstration on the
Senate in July, 1913, en route to a muchneeded, as I thought,
holiday in the Adirondacks.

"Can't you stay on and help us with a hearing next week?" said
Miss Paul.

"I'm sorry," said I, "but I have promised to join a party of
friends in the mountains for a summer holiday and . . ."

"Holiday?" said she, looking straight at me. Instantly ashamed at
having mentioned such a legitimate excuse, I murmured something
about not having had one since before entering college.

"But can't you stay?" she said.

I was lost. I knew I would stay. As a matter of fact, I stayed
through the heat of a Washington summer, returned only long
enough at the end of the summer to close up my work in state
suffrage and came back to join the group at Washington. And it
was years before I ever mentioned a holiday again.

Frequently she achieved her end without even a single word Of
retort. Soon after Miss Paul came to Washington in 1913, ;she
went to call on a suffragist in that city to ask her to donate
;some funds toward the rent of headquarters in the Capital. The
woman sighed. "I thought when Miss Anthony died," she said, "that
all my troubles were at an end. She used to come to me for money
for a federal amendment and I always told her it was wrong to ask
for one, and that besides we would never get it. But she kept
right on coming. Then when she died we


didn't hear any more about an amendment. And now you come again
saying the same things Miss Anthony said."

Miss Paul listened, said she was sorry and departed. Very shortly
a check arrived at headquarters to cover a month's rent.

A model listener, Alice Paul has unlimited capacity for letting
the other person relieve herself of all her objections without
contest. Over and over again I have heard this scene enacted.

"Miss Paul, I have come to tell you that you are all wrong about
this federal amendment business. I don't believe in it. Suffrage
should come slowly but surely by the states. And although I have
been a life-long suffragist, I just want to tell you not to count
on me, for feeling as I do, I cannot give you any help."

A silence would follow. Then Miss Paul would say ingenuously,
"Have you a half hour to spare?"

"I guess so," would come slowly from the protestant. “Why?”

"Won't you please sit down right here and put the stamps on these
letters? We have to get them in the mail by noon."

"But I don't believe …”

"Oh, that's all right. These letters are going to women probably
a lot of whom feel as you do. But some of them will want to come
to the meeting to hear our side."

By this time Miss Paul would have brought a chair, and that ended
the argument. The woman would stay and humbly proceed to stick on
endless stamps. Usually she would come back, too, and before many
days would be an ardent worker for the cause against which she
thought herself invincible.

Once the state president of the conservative suffrage forces in
Ohio with whom I had worked the previous year wrote me a letter
pointing out what madness it was to talk of winning the amendment
in Congress "this session," and adding that


"nobody but a fool would ever think of it, let alone speak of it
publicly." She was wise in politics; we were nice, eager, young
girls, but pretty ignorant-that was the gist of her remonstrance.
My vanity was aroused. Not wishing to be called "mad" or
"foolish" I sat down and answered her in a friendly spirit, with
the sole object of proving that we were wiser than she imagined.
I had never discussed this point with anybody, as I had been in
Washington only a few months and it had never occurred to me that
we were not right to talk of getting the amendment in that
particular session. But I answered my patronizing friend, in
effect, that of course we were not fools, that we knew we would
not get the amendment that session, but we saw no reason for not
demanding it at once and taking it when we got it.

When Miss Paul saw the carbon of that letter she said quietly,
pointing to the part where I had so nobly defended our sagacity,
"You must never say that again and never put it on paper." Seeing
my embarrassment, she hastened to explain. "You see, we can get
it this session if enough women care sufficiently to demand it

Alice Paul brought back to the fight that note of immediacy which
had gone with the passing of Miss Anthony's leadership. She
called a halt on further pleading, wheedling, proving, praying.
It was as if she had bidden women stand erect, with confidence in
themselves and in their own judgments, and compelled them to be
self-respecting enough to dare to put their freedom first, and so
determine for themselves the day when they should be free. Those
who had a taste of begging under the old regime and who abandoned
it for demanding, know how fine and strong a thing it is to
realize that you must take what is yours and not waste your
energy proving that you are or will some day be worthy of a gift
of power from your masters. On that glad day of discovery you
have first freed


yourself to fight for freedom. Alice Paul gave to thousands of
women the essence of freedom.

And there was something so cleansing about the way in which she
renovated ideas and processes, emotions and instincts. Her attack
was so direct, so clear, so simple and unafraid. And her
resistance had such a fine quality of strength.

Sometimes it was a roaring politician who was baffled by this
non-resistant force. I have heard many an irate one come into her
office in the early days to tell her how to run the woman's
campaign, and struggle in vain to arouse her to combat. Having
begun a tirade, honor would compel him to see it through even
without help from a silent adversary. And so he would get more
and more noisy until it would seem as if one lone shout from him
might be enough to blow away the frail object of his attack.
Ultimately he would be forced to retire, perhaps in the face of a
serene smile, beaten and angered that he had been able to make so
little impression. And many the delicious remark and delightful
quip afterward at his expense!

Her gentle humor is of the highest quality. If only her opponents
could have seen her amusement at their hysteria. At the very
moment they were denouncing some plan of action and calling her
"fanatical" and "hysterical" she would fairly beam with delight
to see how well her plan had worked. Her intention had been to
arouse them to just that state of mind, and how admirably they
were living up to the plan. The hysteria was all on their side.
She coolly sat back in her chair and watched their antics under

"But don't you know," would come another thundering
one, "that this will make the Democratic leaders so hostile that
. . ."

The looked-for note of surprise never came. She had counted ahead
on all this and knew almost to the last shade the reaction that
would follow from both majority and minority leaders. All this
had been thoroughly gone over, first with


herself, then with her colleagues. All the "alarms" had been
rung. The male politician could not understand why his
wellmeaning and generously-offered advice caused not a ripple and
not a change in plan. Such calm unconcern he could not endure. He
was accustomed to emotional panics. He was not accustomed to a
leader who had weighed every objection, every attack and counted
the cost accurately.

Her ability to marshal arguments for keeping her own followers in
line was equally marked. A superficial observer would rush into
headquarters with, "Miss Paul, don't you think it was a great
tactical mistake to force President Wilson at this time to state
his position on the amendment? Will it not hurt our campaign to
have it known that he is against us?"

"It is the best thing that could possibly happen to us. If he is
against us, women should know it. They will be aroused to greater
action if he is not allowed to remain silent upon something in
which he does not believe. It will make it easier for us to
campaign against him when the time comes."

And another time a friend of the cause would suggest, "Would it
not have been better not to have tried for planks in party
platforms, since we got such weak ones?"

"Not at all. We can draw the support of women with greater ease
from a party which shows a weak hand on suffrage, than from one
which hides its opposition behind silence."

She had always to combat the fear of the more timid ones who felt
sure with each new wave of disapproval that we would be
submerged. "Now, I have been a supporter of yours every step of
the way," a "fearful" one would say, "but this is really going a
little too far. I was in the Senate gallery to-day when two
suffrage. senators in speeches denounced the pickets and their
suffrage banners. They said that we were setting suffrage back
and that something ought to be done about it."

"Exactly so," would come the ready answer from Miss
Paul. "And they will do something about it only if we continue


to make them uncomfortable enough. Of course even suffrage
senators will object to our pickets and our banners because they
do not want attention called to their failure to compel the
Administration to act. They know that as friends of the measure
their responsibility is greater." And the "fearful" one was
usually convinced and made stronger.

I remember so well when the situation was approaching its final
climax in Washington. Men and women, both, came to Miss Paul
with, "This is terrible! Seven months' sentence is impossible.
You must stop! You cannot keep this up!"

With an unmistakable note of triumph in her voice Miss Paul would
answer, "Yes, it is terrible for us, but not nearly so terrible
as for the government. The Administration has fired its heaviest
gun. From now on we shall win and they will lose."

Most of the doubters had by this time banished their fears
and had come to believe with something akin to superstition that
she could never be wrong, so swiftly and surely, did they see her
policies and her predictions on every point vindicated before
their eyes.

She has been a master at concentration, a master strategist-a
great general. With passionate beliefs on all important social
questions, she resolutely set herself against being seduced into
other paths. Far from being naturally an ascetic, she has
disciplined herself into denials and deprivations, cultural and
recreational, to pursue her objective with the least possible
waste of energy. Not that she did not want above all else to do
this thing. She did. But doing it she had to abandon the easy
life of a scholar and the aristocratic environment of a cultured,
prosperous, Quaker family, of Moorestown, New Jersey, for the
rigors of a ceaseless drudgery and frequent imprisonment. A
flaming idealist, conducting the fight with the sternest kind of
realism, a mind attracted by facts, not fancies, she has led
fearlessly and with magnificent ruthlessness. Think-


ing, thinking day and night of her objective and never retarding
her pace a moment until its accomplishment, I know no modern
woman leader with whom to compare her. I think she must possess
many of the same qualities that Lenin does, according to
authentic portraits of him-cool, practical, rational, sitting
quietly at a desk and counting the consequences, planning the
next move before the first one is finished. And if she has
demanded the ultimate of her followers, she has given it herself.
Her ability to get women to work and never to let them stop is
second only to her own unprecedented capacity for work.

Alice Paul came to leadership still in her twenties, but with a
broad cultural equipment. Degrees from Swarthmore, the University
of Pennsylvania, and special study abroad in English universities
had given her a scholarly background in history, politics, and
sociology. In these studies she had specialized, writing her
doctor's thesis on the status of women. She also did factory work
in English industries and there acquired first hand knowledge of
the industrial position of women. In the midst of this work the
English militant movement caught her imagination and she
abandoned her studies temporarily to join that movement and go to
prison with the English suffragists.

Convinced that the English women were fighting the battle for the
women of the world, she returned to America fresh from their
struggle, to arouse American women to action. She came bringing
her gifts and concentration to this one struggle. She came with
that inestimable asset, youth, and, born of youth, indomitable
courage to carry her point in spite of scorn and

Among the thousands of telegrams sent Miss Paul the day the
amendment finally passed Congress was this interesting message
from Walter Clark, Chief Justice of the Supreme


Court of North Carolina, Southern Democrat, Confederate Veteran
and distinguished jurist:

"Will you permit me to congratulate you upon the great triumph in
which you have been so important a factor? Your place in history
is assured. Some years ago when I first met you I predicted that
your name would be written `on the dusty roll the ages keep.'
There were politicians, and a large degree of public sentiment,
which could only be won by the methods you adopted . . . . It is
certain that, but for you, success would have been delayed for
many years to come."


Part II

Political Action


Blank page


Chapter 1

Women Invade the Capital

Where are the people?" This was Woodrow Wilson's first question
as he arrived at the Union Station in Washington the day before
his first inauguration to the Presidency in March, 1913.

"On the Avenue watching the suffragists parade," came the answer.

The suffrage issue was brought oftenest to his attention from
then on until his final surrender. It lay entirely with him as to
how long women would be obliged to remind him of this issue
before he willed to take a hand.

"The people" were on the Avenue watching the suffragists parade.
The informant was quite right. It seemed to those of us who
attempted to march for our idea that day that the whole world was
there-packed closely on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The purpose of the procession was to dramatize in numbers and
beauty the fact that women wanted to vote that women were asking
the Administration in power in the national government to speed
the day. What politicians had not been able to get through their
minds we would give them through their eyes-often a powerful
substitute. Our first task seemed simple actually to show that
thousands of women wanted immediate action on their long delayed
enfranchisement. This we did.

This was the first demonstration under the leadership of Alice
Paul, at that time chairman of the Congressional Com-


mittee of the National American Woman. Suffrage Association. It
was also the beginning of Woodrow Wilson's liberal education.

The Administration, without intending it, played into the hands
of the women from this moment. The women had been given a permit
to march. Inadequate police protection allowed roughs to attack
them and all but break up the beautiful pageant. The fact of ten
thousand women marching with banners and bands for this idea was
startling enough to wake up the government and the country, but
not so startling as ten thousand women man-handled by
irresponsible crowds because of police indifference.

An investigation was demanded and a perfunctory one held. The
police administration was exonerated, but when the storm of
protest had subsided the Chief of Police was quietly retired to
private life.

It was no longer a secret that women wanted to vote and that they
wanted the President and Congress to act.

A few days later the first deputation of suffragists ever to
appear before a President to enlist his support for the passage
of the national suffrage amendment waited upon President
Wilson.[1] Miss Paul led the deputation. With her were Mrs.
Genevieve Stone, wife of Congressman Stone of Illinois, Mrs.
Harvey W. Wiley, Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, and Miss Mary Bartlett
Dixon of Maryland. The President received the deputation in the
White House Offices. When the women entered they found five
chairs arranged in a row with one chair in front, like a class-
room. All confessed to being frightened when the President came
in and took his seat at the head of the class. The President said
he had no opinion on the subject of woman suffrage; that he had
never given it any thought;[2]

[1]There had been individual visits to previous presidents.

[2]At Colorado Springs in 1911, when Mr. Wilson was Governor of
New Jersey and campaigning for the Presidential nomination, a
delegation of Colorado women asked him his position on woman
suffrage. He said, "Ladies, this is a very arguable question and
my mind is in the midst of the argument"


and that above all it was his task to see that Congress
concentrated on the currency revision and the tariff reform. It
is recorded that the President was somewhat taken aback when Miss
Paul addressed him during the course of the interview with this
query, "But Mr. President, do you not understand that the
Administration has no right to legislate for currency, tariff,
and any other reform without first getting the consent of women
to these reforms?"

"Get the consent of women?" It was evident that this course had
not heretofore occurred to him.

"This subject will receive my most careful consideration," was
President Wilson's first suffrage promise.

He was given time to "consider" and a second deputation went to
him, and still a third, asking him to include the suffrage
amendment in his message to the new Congress assembling in extra
session the following month. And still he was obsessed with the
paramount considerations of "tariff" and "currency." He flatly
said there would be no time to consider suffrage for women. But
the "unreasonable" women kept right on insisting that the liberty
of half the American people was paramount to tariff and currency.

President Wilson's first session of Congress came together April
7th, 1913. The opening day was marked by the suffragists' second
mass demonstration. This time women delegates representing every
one of the 435 Congressional Districts in the country bore
petitions from the constituencies showing that the people "back
home" wanted the amendment passed. The delegates marched on
Congress and were received with a warm welcome and their
petitions presented to Congress. The same day the amendment which
bears the name of Susan B. Anthony, who drafted it in 1875, was
reintroduced into both houses of Congress.


The month of May saw monster demonstrations in many cities and
villages throughout the country, with the direct result that in
June the Senate Committee on Suffrage made the first favorable
report made by that committee in twenty-one years, thereby
placing it on the Senate calendar for action.

Not relaxing the pressure for a day we organized the third great
demonstration on the last of July when a monster petition signed
by hundreds of thousands of citizens was brought to the Senate
asking that body to pass the national suffrage amendment. Women
from all parts of the country mobilized in the countryside of
Maryland where they were met with appropriate ceremonies-by the
Senate Woman Suffrage Committee. The delegation motored in gaily
decorated automobiles to Washington and went direct to the
Senate, where the entire day was given over to suffrage

Twenty-two senators spoke in favor of the amendment in presenting
their petitions. Three spoke against it. For the first time in
twenty-six years suffrage was actually debated in Congress. That
day was historic.

Speeches? Yes. Greetings? Yes. Present petitions from their
constituencies? Gladly. Report it from the Senate Committee? They
had to concede that. But passage of the amendment? That was
beyond their contemplation.

More pressure was necessary. We appealed to the women voters, of
whom there were then four million, to come into action.

"Four million women voters are watching you," we said to
Congress. We might as well have said, "There are in the South Sea
Islands four million heathens."

It was clear that these distant women voters had no relation in
the senatorial mind to the realism of politics. We decided to
bring some of these women voters to Washington: Having failed to
get the Senate to act by August, we invited the Council of Women
Voters to hold its convention in Wash-


ington that Congress might learn this simple lesson: women did
vote; there were four million of them; they had a voters'
organization; they cared about the enfranchisement of all
American women; they wanted the Senate to act; suffrage was no
longer a moral problem; it could be made a practical political
problem with which men and parties would have to reckon.

Voting women made their first impression on Congress that summer.

Meanwhile the President's "paramount issues"-tariff and currency-
had been disposed of. With the December Congress approaching, he
was preparing another message. We went to him again. This time it
was the women from his own home state, an influential deputation
of seventy-three women, including the suffrage leaders from all
suffrage organizations in New Jersey. The women urged him to
include recommendation of the suffrage resolution in his message
to the new Congress. He replied:

"I am pleased, indeed, to greet you and your adherents here, and
I will say to you that I was talking only yesterday with several
members of Congress in regard to a Suffrage Committee in the
House. The subject is one in which I am deeply interested, and
you may rest assured that I will give it my earnest attention."

In interesting himself in the formation of a special committee to
sit on suffrage in the House, the President was doing the
smallest thing, to be sure, that could be done, but he was doing
something. This was a distinct advance. It was our task to press
on until all the maze of Congressional machinery had been used to
exhaustion. Then there would be nothing left to do but to pass
the amendment.

A fourth time that year the determination of women to secure the
passage of the amendment was demonstrated. In December, the
opening week of the new Congress, the annual convention of the
National American Woman Suffrage Asso-


ciation was held in Washington. Miss Lucy Burns, vice chairman of
its Congressional Committee and also of the Congressional Union,
was applauded to the echo by the whole convention when she said:

"The National American Woman Suffrage Association is assembled in
Washington to ask the Democratic Party to enfranchise the women
of America.

"Rarely in the history of the country has a party been more
powerful than the Democratic Party is to-day. It controls the
Executive Office, the Senate and more than two-thirds of the
members of the House of Representatives. It is in a position to
give us effective and immediate help.

"We ask the Democrats to take action now. Those who hold power
are responsible to the country for the use of it. They are
responsible not only for what they do, but for what they do not
do. Inaction establishes just as clear a record as does a policy
of open hostility.

"We have in our hands to-day not only the weapon of a just cause;
we have the support of ten enfranchised states comprising one-
fifth of the United States Senate, one-seventh of the House of
Representatives, and one-sixth of the electoral vote. More than
3,600,000 women have a vote in Presidential elections. It is
unthinkable that a national government which represents women,
and which appeals periodically for the suffrages of women, should
ignore the issue of the right of all women to political freedom.

"We cannot wait until after the passage of scheduled
Administration reforms . . . . Congress is free to take action on
our question in the present session. We ask the Administration to
support the woman suffrage amendment in Congress with its whole

This represented the attitude of the entire suffrage movement
toward the situation in the winter of 1913. At no time did the
militant group deviate from this position until the amendment was
through Congress.

It was difficult to make the Administration believe that the
women meant what they said, and that they meant to use


everything in their power and resourcefulness to see it carried

Men were used to having women ask them for suffrage. But they
were disconcerted at being asked for it now; at being threatened
with political chastisement if they did not yield to the demand.

In spite of the repeated requests to President Wilson that he
include support of the measure in his message to Congress, he
delivered his message December end while the convention was still
in session, and failed to make any mention of the suffrage
amendment. He recommended self-government for Filipino men

Immediately Miss Paul organized the entire convention into a
fifth deputation to protest against this failure and to urge
support in a subsequent message. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw led the
interview. In reply to her eloquent appeal for his assistance,
the President said in part: "I am merely the spokesman of my
party . . . . I am not at liberty to urge upon Congress in
messages, policies which have not had the organic consideration
of those for whom I am spokesman. I am by my own principles shut
out, in the language of the street, from `starting anything.' I
have to confine myself to those things which have been embodied
as promises to the people at an election."

I shall never forget that day. Shafts of sunlight came in at the
window and fell full and square upon the white-haired leader who
was in the closing days of her power. Her clear, deep, resonant
voice, ringing with the genuine love of liberty, was in sharp
contrast to the halting, timid, little and technical answer of
the President. He stooped to utter some light pleasantry which he
thought would no doubt please the "ladies." It did not provoke
even a faint smile. Dr. Shaw had dramatically asked, "Mr.
President, if you cannot speak for us and your party will not,
who then, pray, is there to speak for us?"


"You seem very well able to speak for yourselves, ladies," with a
broad smile, followed by a quick embarrassment when no one

"We mean, Mr. President, who will speak for us with authority"
came back the hot retort from Dr. Shaw.

The President made no reply. Instead he expressed a desire to
shake the hands of the three hundred delegates. A few felt that
manners compelled them to acquiesce; the others filed out without
this little political ceremony.

Alice Paul's report to the national convention for her year's
work as Chairman of the Congressional Committee of the National
American Woman Suffrage Association, and as Chairman also of the
Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, showed that a budget of
twenty-seven thousand dollars had been raised and expended under
her leadership as against ten dollars spent during the previous
year on Congressional work. At the beginning of the year there
was no interest in work with Congress. It was considered
hopeless. At the close of the year 1918 it had become a practical
political issue. Suffrage had entered the national field to stay.

At this point the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage was
obliged to become an independent body in order to continue this
vigorous policy which the conservative suffrage leaders were
unwilling to follow.

Hearings, deputations to the President, petitions to Congress,
more persistent lobbying, all these things continued during the
following year under Miss Paul's leadership with the result that
a vote in the Senate was taken, though at ran inopportune
moment,-the first vote in the Senate since 188'7. The vote stood
86 to '84-thereby failing by 11 votes of the necessary two-thirds
majority. This vote, nevertheless, indicated that a new strength
in the suffrage battle had forced Congress to take some action.

In the House, the Rules Committee on a vote of 4 to 4


refused to create a suffrage committee. We appealed to the
Democratic caucus to see if tie party sustained this action. We
wished to establish their party responsibility, one way or
another, and by securing the necessary signatures to a petition,
we compelled the caucus to meet. By a vote of 128 to 57 the
caucus declared " . . . that the question of woman suffrage is a
state and not a federal question," as a substitute for the milder
resolution offered, providing for the creation of a committee on
woman suffrage. If this had left any doubt as to how the
Democratic Party, as a party, stood, this doubt was conveniently
removed by Representative Underwood, the Majority Leader of the
House, when he said on the floor of the House the following day:
"The Democratic Party last night took the distinctive position
that it was not in favor of this legislation because it was in
favor of the states controlling the question of suffrage . . . .
I not only said I was opposed to it, but I said the Party on this
side of the Chamber was opposed to it, and the Party that has
control of the legislation in Congress certainly has the right to
say that it will not support a measure if it is not in accordance
with its principles."

Meanwhile the President had said to a deputation of workingwomen
who waited upon him in February, "Until the Party, as such, has
considered a matter of this very supreme importance, and taken
its position, I am not at liberty to speak for it; and yet I am
not at liberty to speak for it as an individual, for I am not an

"But we ask you to speak to your party, not for it," answered
Mrs. Glendower Evans, Chairman of the deputation, amid evident
presidential embarrassment.

Those women who had been inclined perhaps to accept the
President's words as true to fact, entertained doubts when a .few
days later he demanded of his party in Congress the repeal of the
free tolls provision in the Panama Canal tolls act. In so doing,
he not only recommended action not endorsed by his


party, but he demanded action which his party had specifically
declared against.

It was necessary to appeal again to the nation. We called for
demonstrations. of public approval of the amendment in every
state on May 2. Thousands of resolutions were passed calling for
action in Congress. These resolutions were made the center of
another great demonstration in Washington, May 9, when thousands
of women in, procession carried them to the Capitol where
beautiful and impressive ceremonies were held on the Capitol
steps. The resolutions were formally received by members of
Congress and the demonstration ended dramatically with a great
chorus of women massed on the steps singing "The March of the
Women" to the thousands of spectators packed closely together on
the Capitol grounds.

And still the President withheld his support.

Under our auspices five hundred representative club women of the
country waited upon him in another appeal for help.[1] To them he
explained his "passion for local self-government," which led to
his conviction "that this is a matter for settlement by the
states[2] and not by the federal government . . . ."

Women had to face the fact that the 63rd Congress had made a
distinctly hostile record on suffrage. The President, as leader
of his party, had seven times refused all aid; the Democratic
Party had recorded its opposition through an adverse vote in the
Senate and a caucus vote in the House forbidding even
consideration of the measure.

It became clear that some form of political action would have to
be adopted which would act as an accelerator to the
Administration. This feeling was growing momentarily among many
women, but it was conspicuously strong in the mind of Mrs. Oliver
H. P. Belmont, recognized as one of the ablest

[1]7th deputation to the President, June 30, 1914.

[2]This amounted to virtual opposition because of the great
difficulties, (some of them almost insuperable) involved in
amending many state constitutions.


suffrage leaders in the country. Anticipating the unfriendly
record made by the Democrats in the 63rd Congress, Mrs. Belmont
had come to Miss Paul and to her vice-chairman, Miss Lucy Burns,
to urge the formulation of a plan whereby we could strike at
Administration opposition through the women voters of the West.
Miss Paul had the same idea and welcomed the support of this plan
by so able a leader.

Mrs. Belmont was impatient to do nationally what she had already
inaugurated in New York State suffrage work-make suffrage an
election issue. She was the first suffragist in America to be
"militant" enough to wage a campaign against office-seekers on
the issue of woman suffrage. She was roundly denounced by the
opposition press, but she held her ground. It is interesting to
record that she defeated the first candidate for the New York
Assembly ever campaigned against on this issue.

She had associated herself with the Pankhursts in England and was
the first suffrage leader here publicly to commend the tactics of
the English militants. Through her, Mrs. Pankhurst made her first
visits to America, where she found a sympathetic audience. Even
among the people who understood and believed in English tactics,
the general idea here was that only in the backward country of
England was "militancy" necessary. In America, men would give
women what women wanted without a struggle.

Mrs. Belmont was the one suffrage leader who foresaw a militant
battle here whenever women should determine to ask for their
freedom immediately. In a great measure she prepared the way for
that battle.

Since the movement had not even advanced to the stage of
political action at that time, however, Mrs. Belmont realized
that political action would have to be exhausted before
attempting more aggressive tactics. Not knowing whether Miss Paul
had contemplated inaugurating political action in the


national field, she sought out the new leader and urged her to
begin at, once to organize the women's power for use in the
approaching national elections.

Those interested in the woman's movement are fairly familiar with
Mrs. Belmont's early state suffrage work and her work with the
militants in England, but they do not know as much about her
national work. It is not easy for a woman of vast wealth to be
credited with much else in America than the fact of generosity in
giving money to the cause in which she believes. Wealth dazzles
us and we look no further. Mrs. Belmont has given hundreds of
thousands of dollars to suffrage, both state and national, but
she has given greater gifts in her militant spirit, her political
sagacity and a marked tactical sense. She was practically the
only leader formerly associated with the conservative forces who
had the courage to extricate herself from the old routine
propaganda and adventure into new paths. She always approached
the struggle for liberty in a wholesome revolutionary mood. She
was essentially a leader, and one who believed in action-always

Until the movement in America regained its militant spirit, her
heart was primarily with the English women, because she thought
their fight so magnificent that it would bring suffrage to women
in England sooner than our slow-going methods would bring it to
us. In 1910, when English militancy was at its height, Mrs.
Belmont gave out an interview in London, in which she predicted
that English women would have the suffrage before us. She even
went so far as to say that we in America would have to create an
acute situation here, probably a form of militancy, before we
could win. At the same time the President of the International
Suffrage Alliance said in London: "The suffrage movement in
England- resembles a battle. It is cruel and tragic. Ours in
America is an evolution-less dramatic, slow but more sure." Facts
sustained Mrs. Belmont's prophecy. Facts did not sustain the


prediction. English women got the vote in 1918. American women
were not enfranchised nationally until August, 1920.

The following is the political theory and program approved by
Mrs. Belmont and submitted to the Congressional Union, by its
chairman, Alice Paul, at a conference of the organization at the
home of Mrs. Belmont in Newport in August, 1914:

The dominant party (at that time the Democratic Party) is
responsible for all action and therefore for action on suffrage.

This party's action had been hostile to this measure.

The dominant party in the approaching election must be convinced,
and through it all other parties, that opposition to suffrage is

All parties will be convinced when they see that their opposition
costs them votes.

Our fight is a political one.

We must appeal for support to the constituency which is most
friendly to suffrage, that constituency being the voting women.

An attempt must be made, no matter how small, to organize the
women's vote.

An appeal must be made to the women voters in the nine suffrage
states to withhold their support from the Democrats nationally,
until the national Democratic Party ceases to block the suffrage

This is non-partisanship in the highest degree, as it calls upon
women to forego previous allegiance to a party. If they are
Democrats in this instance, ,they must vote against their party.
If the Republican Party were in power and pursued a similar
course, we would work against that party.

The party which sees votes falling away will change its attitude.

After we have once affected by this means the outcome of a
national election, even though slightly, every party will
hesitate to trifle with our measure any longer.

All candidates from suffrage states are professing suffragists,
and therefore we have nothing to lose by defeating a


member of the dominant party in those states. Another suffragist
will take his place.

Men will object to being opposed because of their party
responsibility in spite of their friendliness individually to
suffrage. But women certainly have a right to further through the
ballot their wishes on the suffrage question, as well as on other
questions like currency, tariff, and what not.

This can only be done by considering the Party record, for as the
individual record and individual pledges go, all candidates are
practically equal.

We, as a disfranchised class, consider our right to vote,
preeminently over any other issue in any party's program.

Political leaders will resent our injecting our issue into their
campaign, but the rank and file will be won when they see the
loyalty of women to women.

This policy will be called militant and in a sense it is, being
strong, positive and energetic.

If it is militant to appeal to women to use their vote to bring
suffrage to this country, then it is militant to appeal to men or
women to use their vote to any good end.

To the question of "How will we profit if another party comes
in?" our answer will be that adequate political chastisement of
one party for its bad suffrage record through a demonstration of
power by women voters affecting the result of the national
election, will make it easier to get action from any party in

Amidst tremendous enthusiasm this plan was accepted by the little
conference of women at Newport, and $7,000 pledged in a few
moments to start it. There was a small group of women, an
infinitely small budget with which to wage a campaign in nine
states, but here was also enthusiasm and resolute determination.

A tiny handful of women-never more than two, more often only one
to a state-journeyed forth from Washington into the nine suffrage
states of the West to put before the voting women this political
theory, and to ask them to support it.


Chapter 2

Women Voters Organize

It can't be done." "Women don't care about suffrage." I "Once
they've got it, it is a dead issue." "To talk of arousing the
Western women to protest against the Congressional candidates of
the National Democratic Party in the suffrage states, when every
one of them is a professing suffragist, is utter folly." So ran
the comment of the political wise acres in the autumn of 1914.

But the women had faith in their appeal.

It is impossible to give in a few words any adequate picture of
the anger of Democratic leaders at our entrance into the
campaign. Six weeks before election they woke up to find the
issue of national suffrage injected into a campaign which they
had meant should be no more stirring than an orderly and
perfunctory endorsement of the President's legislative program.

The campaign became a very hot one during which most of the
militancy seemed to be on the side of the political leaders.
Heavy fists came down on desks. Harsh words were spoken.
Violent threats were made. In Colorado, where I was cam-
paigning, I was invited politely but firmly by the Democratic
leader to leave the state the morning after I had arrived. "You
can do no good here. I would advise you to leave at once.
Besides, your plan is impracticable and the women will not
support it."

"Then why do you object to my being here?" I asked.

"You have no right to ask women to do this . . . ."

Some slight variation of this experience was met by every


woman who took part in this campaign. Of course, the Democratic
leaders did not welcome an issue raised unexpectedly, and one
which forced them to spend an endless amount of time apologizing
for and explaining the Democratic Party's record. Nor did they
relish spending more money publishing more literature, in short,
adding greatly to the burdens of their campaign. The candidates,
a little more suave than the party leaders, proved most
eloquently that they had been suffragists
"from birth." One candidate even claimed a suffrage inheritance
from his great-grandmother.

This first entry of women into a national election on the
suffrage amendment was little more than a quick, brilliant
dash. With all its sketchiness, however, it had immediate
political results, and when the election was over, there came
tardily a general public recognition that the Congressional
Union had made a real contribution to these results. In the
nine suffrage states women vote3 for 45 members of Congress.
For 43 of these seats the Democratic Party ran candidates.
We opposed in our campaign all of these candidates. Out of
the 43 Democratic candidates running, only 9.0 were elected.
While it was not our primary aim to defeat candidates it was
generally conceded that we had contributed to these defeats.

Our aim in this campaign was primarily to call to the attention
of the public the bad suffrage record of the Democratic Party.
The effect of our campaign was soon evident in Congress. The most
backward member realized for the first time that women had voted.
Even the President perceived that the movement had gained new
strength, though he was not yet politically moved by it. He was
still "tied to a conviction"[1] which he had had all his life
that suffrage "ought to be brought about state by state."

Enough strength and determination among women had

[1]Statement to Deputation of Democratic women (eighth
deputation) at the White House, Jan. 6, 1915.


been demonstrated to the Administration, however, to make them
want to do something "just as good" as the thing we asked. The
Shafroth-Palmer[1] Resolution was introduced, providing for a
constitutional amendment permitting a national initiative and
referendum on suffrage in the states, thereby forcing upon women
the very course we had sought to circumvent. This red herring
drawn across the path had been accepted by the conservative suff-
ragists evidently in a moment of hopelessness, and their strength
put behind it, but the politicians who persuade them to back it
knew that it was merely an attempt to evade the issue.

This made necessary a tremendous campaign throughout the country
by the Congressional Union, with the result that the compromise
measure was eventually abandoned. During its life, however,
politicians were happy in the opportunity to divide their support
between it and the original amendment, which was still pending.
To offset this danger and to show again in dramatic fashion the
strength and will of the women voters to act on this issue, we
made political work among the western women the principal effort
of the year 1915, the year preceding the presidential election.
Taking advantage of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San
Francisco, we opened suffrage headquarters in the Palace of
Education on the exposition grounds. From there we called the
first Woman Voters' Convention ever held in the world for the
single purpose of attaching political strength to the movement.
Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont was chairman of the committee which signed
the convention call.

Women from all the voting states assembled in a mass convention
September 14, 15 and 16. There is not time to describe

[1]This resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator
Shafroth of Colorado, Democrat; in the House by Representative A.
Mitchell Palmer of Pennsylvania, Democrat, later Attorney General
in President Wilson's Cabinet. Both men, although avowed
supporters of the original Susan B. Anthony amendment, backed
this evil compromise.


the beauty of the pageantry which surrounded that gathering, nor
of the emotional quality which was at high pitch throughout the
sessions. These women from the deserts of Arizona, from the farms
of Oregon, from the valleys of California, from the mountains of
Nevada and Utah, were in deadly earnest. They had answered the
call and they meant to stay in the fight until it was won. The
convention went on record unanimously for further political
action on behalf of national suffrage and for the original
amendment without compromise, and pledged itself to use all power
to this end without regard to the interests of any existing
political party.

Two emissaries, Sara Bard Field and Frances Joliffe, both of
California, were commissioned by women voters at the final
session, when more than ten thousand people were present, to go
to the President and Congress bearing these resolutions and
hundreds of thousands of signatures upon a petition gathered
during the summer. They would speak directly to the President
lest he should be inclined to take lightly the women voters'

The envoys, symbolic of the new strength that was to come out of
the West, made their journey across continent by automobile. They
created a sensation all along the way, received as they were by
governors, by mayors, by officials high and low, and by the
populace. Thousands more added their names to the petition and it
was rolled up to gigantic proportions until in December when
unrolled it literally stretched over miles as it was borne to the
Capitol with honor escorts.

The action of the convention scarcely cold, and the envoys mid-
way across the continent, the President hastened to New Jersey to
cast his vote for suffrage in a state referendum. He was careful
to state that he did so as a private citizen, "not as the leader
of my party in the nation" He repeated his position, putting the
emphasis upon his opposition to national suffrage, rather than on
his belief in suffrage for his state.


"I believe that it (suffrage) should be settled by the states and
not by the national government, and that in no circumstances
should it be made a party question; and my view has grown
stronger at every turn of the agitation." He knew women were
asking the powerful aid of the President of the United States,
not the aid of Mr. Wilson of Princeton, New Jersey. The state
amendment in New Jersey was certain to fail, as President Wilson
well knew. Casting a vote for it would help his case with women
voters, and still not bring suffrage in the East a step nearer.

The envoys' reception at the Capitol was indeed dramatic.
Thousands of women escorted them amid bands and banners to the
halls of Congress, where they were received by senators and
representatives and addressed with eloquent speeches. The envoys
replied by asking that their message be carried by friends of the
measure to the floor of the Senate and House, and this was done.

The envoys waited upon the President at the White House. This
visit of the representatives of women with power marked rather an
advance in the President's position. He listened with an eager
attention to the story of the new-found power and what women
meant to do with it. For the first time on record, he said he had
"an open mind" on the question of national suffrage, and would
confer with his party colleagues.

The Republican and Democratic National Committees heard the case
of the envoys. They were given a hearing before the Senate
Suffrage Committee and before the House Judiciary in one of the
most lively and entertaining inquisitions in which women ever

No more questions on mother and home! No swan song on the passing
of charm and womanly loveliness! Only agile scrambling by each
committee member to ask with eagerness and some heat, "Well, if
this amendment has not passed Congress by then, what will you do
in the elections of 1916?" It


was with difficulty that the women were allowed to tell their
story, so eager was the Committee to jump ahead to political
consequences. "Sirs, that depends upon what you gentlemen do. We
are asking a simple thing-" But they never got any further from
the main base of their interest.

"If President Wilson comes out for it and his party does
not" from a Republican member, "will you-"

"I object to introducing partisan discussions here," came
shamelessly from a Democratic colleague. And so the hearing
passed in something of a verbal riot, but with no doubt as to the
fact that Congressmen were alarmed by the prospect of women
voting as a protest group.

The new year found the Senate promptly reporting the measure
favorably again, but the Judiciary Committee footballed it to its
sub-committee, back to the whole committee, postponed it, marked
time, dodged defeated it.

The problem of neutrality toward the European war was agitating
the minds of political leaders. Nothing like suffrage for women
must be allowed to rock the ship even slightly! Oh, no, indeed;
it was men's business to keep the nation out of war. Men never
had shown marked skill at keeping nations out of war in the
history of the world. But never mind! Logic must not be pressed
too hard upon the "reasoning" sex. This time, men would do it.

The exciting national election contest was approaching. Party
conventions were scheduled to meet in June while the amendment
languished at the Capitol. It was clear that more highly
organized woman-power would have to be called into action before
the national government would speed its pace. To the women voters
the Eastern women went for decisive assistance. A car known as
the "Suffrage Special," carrying distinguished Eastern women and
gifted speakers, made an


extensive tour of the West and under the banner of the
Congressional Union called again upon the women voters to come to
Chicago on June 5th to form a new party,-The Woman's Party[1]-to
serve as long as should be necessary as the balance of power in
national contests, and thus to force action from the old parties.

The instant response which met this appeal surpassed the most
optimistic hopes. Thousands of women assembled in Chicago for
this convention, which became epoch-making not only in .the
suffrage fight but in the whole woman movement. For the first
time in history, women came together to organize their political
power into a party to free their own sex. For the first time in
history representatives of men's political parties came to plead
before these women voters for the support of their respective

The Republican Party sent as its representatives John Hays
Hammond and C. S. Osborn, formerly Governor of Michigan. The
Democrats sent their most persuasive orator, President Wilson's
friend, Dudley Field Malone, Collector of the Port of New York.
Allan Benson, candidate for the Presidency on the Socialist
ticket, represented the Socialist Party. Edward Polling,
Prohibition leader, spoke for the Prohibition Party, arid Victor
Murdock and Gifford Pinchot for The Progressive Party.

All laid their claims for suffrage support before the women with
the result that the convention resolved itself into another
political party-The Woman's Party. A new party with but one
plank-the immediate passage of the federal suffrage amendment-a
party determined to withhold its support from all existing
parties until women were politically free, and to punish
politically any party in power which did not use its

[1]The Woman's Party started with a membership of all
Congressional Union members in suffrage states. Anne Martin of
Nevada was elected chairman.


power to free women; a party which became a potent factor of
protest in the following national election.

This first step towards the solidarity of women quickly brought
results. The Republican National Convention, meeting immediately.
after the Woman's Party Convention, and the Democratic National
Convention the week following, both included suffrage planks in
their national platforms for the first time in history. To be
sure, they were planks that failed to satisfy us. But the mere
hint of organized political action on suffrage had moved the two
dominant parties to advance a step. The new Woman's Party had
declared suffrage a national political issue. The two major
parties acknowledged the issue by writing it into their party

The Republican platform was vague and indefinite on national
suffrage. The Democratic Party made its suffrage plank specific
against action by Congress. It precisely said, "We recommend the
extension of the franchise to the women of the country by the
states upon the same terms as men." It was openly stated at the
Democratic Convention by leading Administration Democrats that
the President himself had written this suffrage plank. If the
Republicans could afford to write a vague and indefinite plank,
the President and his party could not. They as the party in power
had been under fire and were forced to take sides. They did so.
The President chose the plank and his subordinates followed his
lead. It may be remarked in passing that this declaration so
solidified the opposition within the President's party that when
the President ultimately sought to repudiate it, he met stubborn

Protected by the President's plank, the Democratic Congress
continued to block national suffrage. It would not permit it even
to be reported from the Judiciary Committee. The party platform
was written. The President, too, found it easy to hide behind the
plank which he had himself written,


counting on women to be satisfied. To Mrs. D. E. Hooker of
Richmond, Virginia, who as a delegate from the Virginia
Federation of Labor, representing 60,000 members, went to him
soon after to ask his support of the amendment, the President
said, "I am opposed by conviction and political traditions to
federal action on this question. Moreover, after the plank which
was adopted in the Democratic platform at St. Louis, I could not
comply with the request contained in this resolution even if I
wished to do so."

President Wilson could not act because the party plank which he
had written prevented him from doing so!

Meanwhile the women continued to protest.

Miss Mabel Vernon of Delaware, beloved and gifted crusader, was
the first member of the Woman's Party to commit a "militant" act.
President Wilson, speaking at the dedication services of the
Labor Temple in Washington, was declaring his interest in all
classes and all struggles. He was proclaiming his beliefs in the
abstractions of liberty and justice, when Miss Vernon, who was
seated on the platform from which he was speaking, said in her
powerful voice, "Mr. President, if you sincerely desire to
forward the interests of all the people, why do you oppose the
national enfranchisement of, women?" Instant consternation arose,
but the idea had penetrated to the farthest corner of the huge
assembly that women were protesting to the President against the
denial of their liberty.

The President found time to answer, "That is one of the things
which we will have to take counsel over later," and resumed his
speech. Miss Vernon repeated her question later and was ordered
from the meeting by the police.

As the summer wore on, women realized that they would have to
enter the national contest in the autumn. Attention was focussed
on the two rival presidential candidates, Woodrow Wilson and
Charles Evans Hughes, the Republican nominee, upon whom the new
Woman's Party worked diligently


for prompt statements of their position on the national

The next political result of the new solidarity of women
was Mr. Hughes' declaration on August 1st, 1916: "My view is that
the proposed amendment should be submitted and ratified and the
subject removed from political discussion."

The Democratic Congress adjourned without even report
ing the measure to that body for a vote, and went forthwith to
the country to ask reelection.

We also went to the country. We went to the women voters to lay
before them again the Democratic Party's record now complete
through one Administration. We asked women voters again to
withhold their support nationally from President Wilson and his

The President accepted at once the opportunity to speak before a
convention of suffragists at Atlantic City in an effort to prove
his great belief in suffrage. He said poetically, "The tide is
rising to meet the moon . . . . You can afford to wait" Whatever
we may have thought of his figure of speech, we disagreed with
his conclusion.

The campaign on, Democratic speakers throughout the West found an
unexpected organized force among women, demanding an explanation
of the past conduct of the Democratic Party and insisting on an
immediate declaration by the President in favor of the amendment.
Democratic orators did their utmost to meet this opposition.
"Give the President time. He can't do everything at once." "Trust
him once more; he will do it for you next term." "He kept us out
of war. He is the best friend the mothers of the nation ever
had" "He stood by you. Now you women stand by him." "What good
will votes do you if the Germans come over here and take your
country?" And so on. Enticing doctrine to women-the peace lovers
of the human race.

Although we entered this contest with more strength than


we had had in 1914, with a budget five times as large and with
piled-up evidence of Democratic hostility, we could rot have
entered a more difficult contest. The people were excited to an
almost unprecedented pitch over the issue of peace versus war. In
spite of the difficulty of competing with this emotional issue
which meant the immediate disposal of millions of lives, it was
soon evident that the two issues were running almost neck and
neck in the Western territory.

No less skilled a campaigner than William Jennings Bryan took the
stump in the West against the Woman's Party. At least a third of
each speech was devoted to suffrage. He urged. He exhorted. He
apologized. He explained. He pleaded. He condemned. Often he was
heckled. Often he saw huge "VOTE AGAINST WILSON! HE KEPT US OUT
OF SUFFRAGE!" banners at the doors of his meetings. One woman in
Arizona, who, unable longer to listen in patience to the glory of
"a democracy where only were governed those who consented,"
interrupted him. He coldly answered, "Madam, you cannot pick
cherries before they are ripe." By the time he got to.
California, however, the cherries had ripened considerably, for
Mr. Bryan came out publicly for the national amendment.

What was true of Mr. Bryan was true of practically every
Democratic campaigner. Against their wills they were forced to
talk about suffrage, although they had serenely announced at the
opening of the campaign that it was "not an issue in this
campaign." Some merely apologized and explained. Others, like
Dudley Field Malone, spoke for the federal amendment, and
promised to work to put it through the next Congress, "if only
you women will stand by Wilson and return him to power."

Space will not permit in this book to give more than a hint of
the scope and strength of our campaign. If it were possible to
give a glimpse of the speeches made by men in that cam-


paign, you would agree that it was not peace alone that was the
dominant issue, but peace and suffrage. It must be made perfectly
clear that the Woman's Party did not attempt to elect Mr. Hughes.
It did not feel strong enough to back a candidate in its first
battle, and did not conduct its fight affirmatively at all. No
speeches were made for Mr. Hughes and the Republican Party. The
appeal was to vote a vote of protest against Mr. Wilson and his
Congressional candidates, because he and his party had had the
power to pass the amendment through Congress and had refused to
do so. That left the women free to choose from among the
Republicans, Socialists and Prohibitionists. It was to be
expected that the main strength of the vote taken from Mr. Wilson
would go to Mr. Hughes, as few women perhaps threw their votes to
the minority parties. But just as the Progressive Party's protest
had been effective in securing progressive legislation without
winning the election, so the Woman's Party hoped its protest
would bring results in Congress without attempting to win the

History will never know in round numbers how many women voted
against the President and his party at this crisis, for there are
no records kept for men and women separately, except in one
state, in Illinois. The women there voted two to one against Mr.
Wilson and for Mr. Hughes.

Men outnumber women throughout the entire western territory; in
some states, two and three to one; in Nevada, still higher. But,
whereas, in the election of 191, President Wilson got 69
electoral votes from the suffrage states, in the 1916 election,
when the whole West was aflame for him because of his peace
policy, he got only 5'7. Enthusiasm for Mr. Hughes in the West
was not sufficiently marked to account entirely for the loss of
these 12 electoral votes. Our claim that Democratic opposition to
suffrage had cost many of them was never seriously denied.


The Democratic Judiciary Committee of the House which had refused
to report suffrage to the House for a vote, had only one
Democratic member from a suffrage state, Mr. Taggart of Kansas,
standing for reelection. This was the only spot where women could
strike out against the action of this committee-and Mr. Taggart.
They struck with success. He was defeated almost wholly by the
women's votes.

With a modest campaign fund of slightly over fifty thousand
dollars, raised almost entirely in small sums, the women had
forced the campaign committee of the Democratic Party to assume
the defensive and to practically double expenditure and work on
this issue. As much literature was used on suffrage as on peace
in the suffrage states.

Many Democrats although hostile to our campaign said without
qualification that the Woman's Party protest was the only factor
in the campaign which stemmed the western tide toward Wilson, and
which finally made California the pivotal state and left his
election in doubt for a week.

Again, with more force, national suffrage had been injected into
a campaign where it was not wanted, where the leaders had hoped
the single issue of "peace" would hold the center of the stage.
Again many women had stood together on this issue and put woman
suffrage first. And the actual reelection of President Wilson had
its point of advantage, too, for it enabled us to continue the
education of a man in power who had already had four years of
lively training on the woman question.


Chapter 3

The Last Deputation to President Wilson

Of the hundreds of women who volunteered for the last Western
campaign, perhaps the most effective in their appeal were the
disfranchised Eastern women.

The most dramatic figure of them all was Inez Milholland
Boissevain, the gallant and beloved crusader who gave her life
that the day of women's freedom might be hastened. Her last words
to the nation as she fell fainting on the platform in California
were, "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?" Her
fiery challenge was never heard again. She never recovered from
the terrific strain of the campaign which had undermined her
young strength. Her death touched the heart of the nation; her
sacrifice, made so generously for liberty, lighted anew the fire
of rebellion in women, and aroused from inertia thousands never
before interested in the liberation of their own sex.

Memorial meetings were held throughout the country at which women
not only paid radiant tribute to Inez Milholland, but
reconsecrated themselves to the struggle and called again upon
the reelected President and his Congress to act.

The most impressive of these memorials was held on Christmas Day
in Washington. In Statuary Hall under the dome of the Capitol-the
scene of memorial services for Lincoln and Garfield-filled with
statues of outstanding figures in the struggle for political and
religious liberty in this country, the first memorial service
ever held in the Capitol to honor a woman, was held for this
gallant young leader.


Boy choristers singing the magnificent hymn

"Forward through the darkness
Leave behind the night,
Forward out of error,
Forward into light"

led into the hall the procession of young girl banner-bearers.
Garbed in simple surplices, carrying their crusading banners high
above their heads, these comrades of Inez Milholland Boissevain
seemed more triumphant than sad. They seemed to typify the spirit
in which she gave her life.

Still other young girls in white held great golden banners
flanking the laurel-covered dais, from which could be read the
inscriptions: "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay
down his life for his friend" . . . "Without extinction is
liberty; Without retrograde is equality" . . . "As He died to
make men holy let us die to make men free" . . .

From behind the heavy velvet curtains came the music of voices
and strings, and the great organ sounded its tragic and
triumphant tones.

Miss Maud Younger of California was chosen to make the memorial
address on this occasion. She said in part:

"We are here to pay tribute to Inez Milholland Boissevain, who
was our comrade. We are here in the nation's capital, the seat of
our democracy, to pay tribute to one who gave up her life to
realize that democracy . . . .

"Inez Milholland walked down the path of life a radiant being.
She went into work with a song in her heart. She went into battle
with a laugh on her lips. Obstacles inspired her, discouragement
urged her on. She loved work and she loved battle. She loved life
and laughter and light, and above all else she loved liberty.
With a loveliness beyond most, a kindliness, a beauty of mind and
soul, she typified always the best and noblest in womanhood. She
was the flaming torch that went ahead to light the way-the symbol
of light and freedom . . .


"Symbol of the woman's struggle, it was she who carried to the
West the appeal of the unenfranchised, and carrying it, made her
last appeal on earth, her last journey in life.

"As she set out upon her last journey, she seems to have had the

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