Iron Jawed Angels — Alice Paul — Videos
UPDATED October 29, 2013
Alice Stokes Paul: the Women’s Suffrage Movement
“Alice Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. Born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women. Few individuals have had as much impact on American history as has Alice Paul. Her life symbolizes the long struggle for justice in the United States and around the world. Her vision was the ordinary notion that women and men should be equal partners in society. She played an important role in the woman’s suffrage movement picketing the White House, going to prison, and even enduring forced feeding during the struggle to get the 19th amendment passed, which secured voting rights for women in America.”
Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot
Mary Walton talks about her new book, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. Alice Paul was one of the most important civil rights activists of the 20th century and a pioneer of nonviolent resistance. Her tactics and leadership were crucial to winning passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Alice Paul presented by The Alice Paul Institute
Alice Paul: Working Towards Equality for the 51% Minority
National History Day Documentary Finalist 2009
Alice Paul vs President Woodrow Wilson
Iron Jawed Angels Trailer
Iron Jawed Angels Edited
Iron Jawed Angels Part 1/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 2/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 3/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 4/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 5/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 6/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 7/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 8/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 9/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 10/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 11/12
Iron Jawed Angels Part 12/12
Background Articles and Videos
Alice Paul vs President Woodrow Wilson
Who Was Alice Paul? Pt 1
Who Was Alice Paul? Pt 2
Who Was Alice Paul? Pt 3
“…Alice Paul received her undergraduate education from Swarthmore College, and then earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Paul received her LL.B from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1922. In 1927, she earned an LL.M, and in 1928, a Doctorate in Civil Laws from American University. Since the Washington College of Law merged with American University more than twenty years after Paul’s graduation in 1949, she had the distinction of receiving law degrees from both schools.
Women’s Suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment
After her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Paul joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and was appointed Chairwoman of their Congressional Committee in Washington, DC. After months of fundraising and raising awareness for the cause, membership numbers went up in 1913. Their focus was lobbying for a constitutional amendment to secure the right to vote for women. Such an amendment had originally been sought by suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who tried securing the vote on a state-by-state basis.
Paul’s methods began to create tension between her and the leader of NAWSA, who felt that a constitutional amendment was not practical for the times. When her lobbying efforts proved fruitless, Paul and her colleagues formed the National Woman’s Party (NWP) in 1916 and began introducing some of the methods used by the suffrage movement in Britain. The National Woman’s Party was funded by Alva Belmont who was a multi-millionaire socialite at the time. The NWP was accompanied by press coverage and the publication of the weekly Suffragist.
In the US presidential election of 1916, Paul and the NWP campaigned against the continuing refusal of President Woodrow Wilson and other incumbent Democrats to support the Suffrage Amendment actively. In January 1917, the NWP staged the first political protest to picket the White House. The picketers, known as “Silent Sentinels,” held banners demanding the right to vote. This was an example of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign. In July 1917, picketers were arrested on charges of “obstructing traffic.” Many, including Paul, were convicted and incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia (later the Lorton Correctional Complex) and the District of Columbia Jail.
In a protest of the conditions in Occoquan, Paul commenced a hunger strike, which led to her being moved to the prison’s psychiatric ward and force-fed raw eggs through a feeding tube. This, combined with the continuing demonstrations and attendant press coverage, kept pressure on the Wilson administration. In January, 1918, Wilson announced that women’s suffrage was urgently needed as a “war measure”, and strongly urged Congress to pass the legislation. In 1920, after coming down to one vote in the state of Tennessee, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution secured the vote for women.
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
“…The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920.
The Constitution allows states to determine the qualifications for voting, and until the 1910s most states disenfranchised women. The amendment was the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote.
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted the amendment and first introduced it in 1878; it was forty-one years later, in 1919, when the Congress submitted the amendment to the states for ratification. A year later, it was ratified by the requisite number of states, with Tennessee’s ratification being the final vote needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
The Nineteenth Amendment was unsuccessfully challenged in Leser v. Garnett (1922). In that case, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted. …”
The United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. This authority was implicitly delegated to the individual states, all of which denied the right to women (with the exception of New Jersey, which initially carried women’s suffrage but revoked it in 1807).
While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women’s rights existed previously, the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women’s rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention, however, and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were generally disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women’s suffrage movement took hold after the war, during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877). During this period, women’s rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments). Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women’s suffrage.
“…Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women’s suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory (1869), Utah (1870), and Washington Territory (1883). Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, and several even held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony, petitioning, and lobbying.
Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), were formed in 1869. The NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment (granting universal citizenship) and Fifteenth Amendment (granting the vote irrespective of race) together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment.
The Nineteenth Amendment’s text was drafted by Susan B. Anthony with the assistance of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The proposed amendment was first introduced in the U.S. Senate colloquially as the “Anthony Amendment”, by Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women’s suffrage advocate. He had frequently attempted to insert women’s suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878. Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887.
A three-decade period known as “the doldrums” followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women’s suffrage movement achieved few victories. During this period, the suffragists pressed for the right to vote in the laws of individual states and territories while retaining the goal of federal recognition. A flurry of activity began in 1910 and 1911 with surprise successes in Washington and California. Over the next few years, most western states passed legislation or voter referenda enacting full or partial suffrage for women. These successes were linked to the 1912 election, which saw the rise of the Progressive and Socialist parties, as well as the election of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. Not until 1914 was the constitutional amendment again considered by the Senate, where it was again rejected.
On January 12, 1915, a proposal to amend the Constitution to provide for women’s suffrage was brought before the House of Representatives, but was defeated by a vote of 204 to 174. Another proposal was brought before the House on January 10, 1918. During the previous evening, President Wilson made a strong and widely published appeal to the House to pass the amendment. It was passed by the required two-thirds of the House, with only one vote to spare. The vote was then carried into the Senate. Wilson again made an appeal, but on September 30, 1918, the proposal fell two votes short of passage. On February 10, 1919, it was again voted upon and failed by only one vote.
There was considerable desire among politicians of both parties to have the proposal made part of the Constitution before the 1920 general elections, so the President called a special session of the Congress so the proposal would be brought before the House again. On May 21, 1919, it passed the House, 42 votes more than necessary being obtained. On June 4, 1919, it was brought before the Senate and, after a long discussion, it was passed with 56 ayes and 25 nays. Within a few days, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan ratified the amendment, their legislatures being in session. Other states followed suit at a regular pace, until the amendment had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 state legislatures. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee narrowly approved the Nineteenth Amendment, with 50 of 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voting yes. This provided the final ratification necessary to enact the amendment.
The Congress proposed the Nineteenth Amendment on June 4, 1919, and the following states ratified the amendment.
- Wisconsin (June 10, 1919)
- Illinois (June 10, 1919, reaffirmed on June 17, 1919)
- Michigan (June 10, 1919)
- Kansas (June 16, 1919)
- New York (June 16, 1919)
- Ohio (June 16, 1919)
- Pennsylvania (June 24, 1919)
- Massachusetts (June 25, 1919)
- Texas (June 28, 1919)
- Iowa (July 2, 1919)[note 1]
- Missouri (July 3, 1919)
- Arkansas (July 28, 1919)
- Montana (August 2, 1919)[note 1]
- Nebraska (August 2, 1919)
- Minnesota (September 8, 1919)
- New Hampshire (September 10, 1919)[note 1]
- Utah (October 2, 1919)
- California (November 1, 1919)
- Maine (November 5, 1919)
- North Dakota (December 1, 1919)
- South Dakota (December 4, 1919)
- Colorado (December 15, 1919)[note 1]
- Kentucky (January 6, 1920)
- Rhode Island (January 6, 1920)
- Oregon (January 13, 1920)
- Indiana (January 16, 1920)
- Wyoming (January 27, 1920)
- Nevada (February 7, 1920)
- New Jersey (February 9, 1920)
- Idaho (February 11, 1920)
- Arizona (February 12, 1920)
- New Mexico (February 21, 1920)
- Oklahoma (February 28, 1920)
- West Virginia (March 10, 1920, confirmed on September 21, 1920)
- Washington (March 22, 1920)
- Tennessee (August 18, 1920)
Ratification was completed on August 18, 1920, and the following states subsequently ratified the amendment:
- Connecticut (September 14, 1920, reaffirmed on September 21, 1920)
- Vermont (February 8, 1921)
- Delaware (March 6, 1923, after being rejected on June 2, 1920)
- Maryland (March 29, 1941 after being rejected on February 24, 1920; not certified until February 25, 1958)
- Virginia (February 21, 1952, after being rejected on February 12, 1920)
- Alabama (September 8, 1953, after being rejected on September 22, 1919)
- Florida (May 13, 1969)
- South Carolina (July 1, 1969, after being rejected on January 28, 1920; not certified until August 22, 1973)
- Georgia (February 20, 1970, after being rejected on July 24, 1919)
- Louisiana (June 11, 1970, after being rejected on July 1, 1920)
- North Carolina (May 6, 1971)
- Mississippi (March 22, 1984, after being rejected on March 29, 1920)
Alaska and Hawaii were not states when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.