Founding Feminists is FMF’s daily herstory column.
After fifty-five National American Woman Suffrage Association convention delegates vowed to stay in Washington, D.C., all Winter if that was what needed to be done in order to meet with President Wilson, he has finally agreed to receive a N.A.W.S.A. deputation at 1 p.m. on the day after tomorrow, at the White House. It will consist of the entire National Board and one representative from each of the 48 States. They will try to get a definite public statement from the President regarding his views on woman suffrage, and hopefully some help in lobbying the Susan B. Anthony Amendment through Congress. It would assure women equal voting rights with men nationwide if then ratified by 36 States. Among the suffragists representing their States will be Jeannette Rankin of Montana, and Katharine Houghton Hepburn of Connecticut.
In another major development, Alice Paul has split from N.A.W.S.A. Earlier today she was given an ultimatum from the National Board: She could either continue to lead N.A.W.S.A.’s Congressional Committee, or her Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, but not both, as she has been doing. She refused to give up her work with the Congressional Union, and now both she and Lucy Burns will be devoting all their time to the more militant Union and working solely for passage and ratification of the Anthony Amendment.
In other suffrage news, Helen Todd attended a speech by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan earlier this evening, and after hearing him go on for a while about the virtues of popular government, rose and called out: “And how about popular government for women, Mr. Secretary?” Bryan then replied: “Madam, in your work you doubtless have followed your judgment and conscience. In my work I have followed mine.” He then immediately left the hall.
For those who may be interested in doing suffrage work of a less militant nature, it was announced today that a two-week “suffrage school” will be opened day after tomorrow in the Friends’ Meeting House, 1811 “I” Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Among those who will be giving expert instruction on how to conduct suffrage work will be Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, newly re-elected President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Though the annual N.A.W.S.A. convention is over, today was certainly as historic as any day of that week-long gathering. The fact that N.A.W.S.A. now has the power to demand – and receive – an audience with the President proves that woman suffrage has joined the ranks of other major movements in the country. And now that Alice Paul and Lucy Burns are totally free to pursue whatever tactics they feel are needed to put the Anthony Amendment in the Constitution, there can be no doubt that the future of the suffrage movement will be different from its past, and that victory is much closer today than it was just yesterday.