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Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign

Katherine H. Adams

Publication Year: 2007

Past biographies, histories, and government documents have ignored Alice Paul's contribution to the women's suffrage movement, but this groundbreaking study scrupulously fills the gap in the historical record. Masterfully framed by an analysis of Paul's nonviolent and visual rhetorical strategies, Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaign narrates the remarkable story of the first person to picket the White House, the first to attempt a national political boycott, the first to burn the president in effigy, and the first to lead a successful campaign of nonviolence. _x000B__x000B_Katherine H. Adams and Michael L. Keene also chronicle other dramatic techniques that Paul deftly used to gain publicity for the suffrage movement. Stunningly woven into the narrative are accounts of many instances in which women were in physical danger. Rather than avoid discussion of Paul's imprisonment, hunger strikes, and forced feeding, the authors divulge the strategies she employed in her campaign. Paul's controversial approach, the authors assert, was essential in changing American attitudes toward suffrage. _x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

Kate is writing her share of these acknowledgments at her father’s house, to which she has fled from Hurricane Katrina. She would like to thank her father, James R. Hodges, and her son, Cole Adams, who both went with her to Washington to do...

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pp. xi-xviii

Who are the best known figures of the woman suἀrage movement in the United States? Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. They had all died by 1906, however, and women did not achieve the vote until 1920. Who, then, carried on their work and secured the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment...

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1. Alice Paul’s Formation

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pp. 1-20

In December of 1912, Alice Paul boarded a train in Philadelphia to move to Washington, D.C. She was on her way there to represent the National American Woman Suἀrage Association (NAWSA) in Congress as chair of its Congressional Committee and...

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2. The Commitment to Nonviolence

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pp. 21-41

As Alice Paul began her suἀrage work in Washington in December of 1912, she did so with a strong sense of testimony. Through her extensive experience with philanthropic work and her education in women’s history, she had come to realize that she did...

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3. Reaching the Group through Words and Pictures

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pp. 42-75

In 1913 the women’s suἀrage movement in the United States was dispersed over a large country, with countless groups functioning separately and with many of them discouraged by state defeats. In the spring of that year, as Alice Paul developed plans for...

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4. Parades and Other Events Escalating the Nonviolent Pressure

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pp. 76-116

Throughout the campaign for suἀrage, Alice Paul felt that her combination of individual letters, circular letters, the Suἀragist, and press bulletins provided the necessary written persuasion for her supporters and the larger public. But Paul also felt—as did Gandhi—that...

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5. Lobbying and Deputations

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pp. 117-140

As Alice Paul established her organization and began planning nonviolent events, she was aware that parades and tours might not by themselves accomplish her goals of educating a legislature, president, and nation. She knew that she had to find ways to go directly to leaders of the Democratic Party and to Woodrow Wilson, who...

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6. The Political Boycott

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pp. 141-156

As Alice Paul pursued legislators and the president with the twin goals of educating them about suἀrage and publicizing their repeated denials of women’s rights, she was also trying to bring pressure on them during elections, to make use of the power women already had as voters in the West. Along with staging parades and other events...

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7. Picketing Wilson

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pp. 157-190

At the end of 1916, Paul felt that new techniques would be necessary to make a further impact on Wilson and his Democratic Party. Suἀragists had lobbied assiduously. They had met with Wilson within the White House and without. They had held parades, mounted tableaux, and traveled cross-country. They had boycotted the Democratic....

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8. Hunger Strikes and Jail

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pp. 191-214

To engage Americans and gain their sympathy, throughout the fall Paul was shifting the focus of her rhetoric, maintaining the picket line and banners but emphasizing the jail terms that shocked newspaper readers across the country. Women continued to picket...

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9. At Nonviolent War

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pp. 215-242

A year of picketing, arrests, punishments, and abuse, which had begun with Inez Milholland’s death on November 25, 1916, had certainly given the National Woman’s Party (NWP) a national audience. Alice Paul and her supporters could not be ignored....

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pp. 243-248

The Sixty-Sixth Congress convened on May 19, 1919, with the president at the Peace Conference in Versailles. The NWP worked on getting prosuἀrage Democrats and the president to influence those senators who still opposed the amendment. Wilson had met, for example, with Democrat William J. Harris of Georgia, who went...


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pp. 249-264


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pp. 265-274

About the Author, Publication Information, Back Cover

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pp. 275

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090349
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252074714

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Paul, Alice, 1885-1977.
  • Suffragists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Women -- Suffrage -- United States -- History.
  • Women's rights -- United States -- History.
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