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1. Alice Paul’s Formation as Activist 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 thus as its official advocate of a federal suffrage amendment. At age twenty-seven, she went alone, with no place secured either to live or to work, and with a ten-dollar budget from NAWSA and an agreement that she would not ask for more. The association had been loath to trust her with this job; only Jane Addams’s argument for her selection had curbed President Anna Howard Shaw’s objections to this too young and too militant woman who had been jailed in England with the Pankhursts. (One contemporary journalist commented on this hesitancy, “Above all, Dr. Shaw wanted no wildness in her ranks” [Faber 126].) Starting that December, at a time when the suἀrage eἀort was in a stagnant period following the deaths of leaders Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, and the failure of many state campaigns, Paul began to mount her own nonviolent campaign, one involving a visual rhetoric shaped by her Quaker upbringing, her extensive education, and her suἀrage experience in England. Alice Paul’s Quaker Roots Alice Stokes Paul traced her background on both sides to Quakers who had worked for governmental reform. “I have practically no ancestor who wasn’t a Quaker,” she declared in a 1972/1 973 interview with oral historian Amelia Fry: “My father and mother were, and their fathers and mothers were.” On her mother’s side, one English ancestor was William Crispin, who helped 2 a l ice paul a nd t he a mer ic a n suf f r age c a mpa ign William Penn with plans for a Quaker colony in the new world (Dunn and Dunn 47).On her father’s side, Hannah Feake became a Quaker minister and married fellow Quaker John Bowne of New York in 1656. Hearing that the Bownes were holding Quaker meetings in their home, Governor Stuyvesant had John arrested and banished to Holland, where he was able to convince the Estates General to force an end to this interference with religious freedom; Hannah conducted secret meetings during his absence and later worked with her husband to involve others in their faith (Flushing Remonstrance). By the time of Alice Paul’s birth, her staunchly Quaker family, proud of its activist past, had been in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for many generations . She was born on January 11,1885,in Moorestown, New Jersey, a Quaker village in Burlington County about fourteen miles from Philadelphia across the Delaware River. Her father, William M. Paul, owned a large farm there and was president of the Burlington County Trust Company. As a farmer and banker, he adhered to long traditions within the Society of Friends, who in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England had often combined farm income with business employment because they could not take government jobs or pursue a university education to support their families (Vipont 146–47). During Paul’s childhood, Moorestown had two congregations or “meetings,” one for the more traditional, rural, and separatist Hicksite group and one for the more modern and urban Orthodox group. As a family of farmers and traditional Quakers, the Pauls were Hicksites, putting emphasis on inner strength, a separate community, and quietism, a calm and reserved approach to everyday life. As confirmed Hicksites living in a Quaker village, the Pauls followed Quaker traditions in their home, community life, and educational choices. Like their neighbors, they dressed plainly, used thee and thou in their speech, and had no music in their home. The family went to the local Hicksite meeting each Sunday, and the children attended the Hicksite Friends school on Chester Avenue, which had built a new brick building in 1880and opened the area’s first kindergarten in 1883.This thriving school encouraged serious habits of reading and reflection, which led Paul to the library the school shared with the meeting: “And I read just endlessly, ceaselessly, almost every book it seems! We had a Friends library there in the meeting house, and I took out every book in the library” (Fry). In this small world of home, school, and meeting, Paul was imbued with the tenets of the Quaker faith. The Society had begun in England...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780252090349
Related ISBN
9780252074714
MARC Record
OCLC
841172596
Pages
296
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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