tv Womens Suffrage 100th Anniversary CSPAN August 19, 2020 1:41pm-2:45pm EDT
the centennial. then marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. later harriet tubman and how she joined the suffrage movement later in her life. on august 18th, 1920, the last state needed to ratify the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. the decades-long fight to win the vote, and its legacy. ♪ ♪
♪ >> the movement from 1848 when a convention to consider the rights of women was held in new york. the committee drafting the list of woman's demands found her grievances against the government of men to be the same number that american men have had against king george. it took george washington six years to rectify men's grievances by law, but it took 72 years to establish women's rights by law. at least 1,000 legal amendments
were necessary and every one was a struggle against ignorant opposition. woman suffrage is a long story of hard work crowned by victory. >> colleen shogan is vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission and white house historical association here in washington. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you, and good morning. >> let's talk about the significance of the events this week, august 18th, 1920, and the key role tennessee played in the 19th amendment. >> yes. in august of 1920, 35 states had ratified the 19th amendment, but the 36th state was elusive. there were 48 states in the united states at that time, and according to the constitution, there was a required three-fourths number of states
that had to ratify to make the 19th amendment part of the constitution, and really the last battle came down to tennessee. there was not another obvious state that could ratify the 19th amendment. and if women were going to have the right to vote in the 1920 election, it all came down to tennessee. >> tennessee and also one key vote. this is the headline from "the washington post," a mother's letter, a son's choice and the incredible moment women won the right to vote. the letter that was written by the mother of harry t. burn. who was he? >> yes. harry burn was a legislator in the tennessee state house. he was actually the youngest legislator in the tennessee statehouse. he represented east tennessee. his district was not particularly supportive of the 19th amendment. and the governor had called a special session for tennessee to consider the 19th amendment. so harry burn returned to
nashville for that session. truth be told, on august 18th, 1920, the vote counters, suffragists, who were vote counters, really good vote counters, did not believe they had the votes to pass the amendment in the tennessee statehouse. they were shocked, when harry burn, who have been voting against them for all the other procedural votes, changed his vote unexplainably at that point in time, to an aye vote, which is really what pushed it over the top. what they didn't know is that he had received a letter from his mother that morning, delivered to him on the tennessee statehouse floor, that asked harry to vote for women's suffrage and to be a good boy and listen to mrs. catt, the leader of the suffrage movement there in nashville. harry burn decided to listen to his mother. he was, himself, supportive of woman's suffrage but was torn
because his constituents were n not. as he said later on, he decided that he would listen to his mother and vote for woman's suffrage which put the vote over the top and gave them the win. >> who is harriet catt, what was her background and why did she play such a big role? >> she is one of the most important figures in women suffrage history. carrie catt was growing up in rural iowa, she was the daughter of farmers. and it was the 1872 presidential election, and her mother and father were both, as she thought, politically engaged. the day of the election came. her father got ready to go into town to vote along with some of the farm workers who worked on the farm for their father, and she didn't understand why her mother wasn't getting ready to go into town to vote.
and she asked, aren't you going into town with dad to vote? and everybody laughed at her and said, don't be silly, carrie, women don't vote. and that's probably the moment in time, when she was 13 years old, that carrie chapman catt became a suffragist. she started her career in iowa, worked at the state level. eventually she was married and moved to the northeast and became involved with the national american women suffrage association. she became the protege of susan b. anthony. susan b. anthony knew at a certain period of time that she would probably not live to see women voting all across the united states. so, at that point in time, susan b. anthony decided she needed to recruit women that would take her place, and carrie chapman catt was the person who susan b. anthony recruited to take her place. she played a pivotal role, several times, in the women's
suffrage movement, certainly as a strategist and definitely in nashville, tennessee, for the final fight. >> we have pictures from outside the white house. what role did president woodrow wilson play in all of this? did he have a view? >> yes, he absolutely had a view. woodrow wilson, when he came to the white house in 1913, was not a supporter of women's suffrage. in fact, he tried to avoid the issue as much as possible. as time went on, he did grow and change his opinion when he realized that actually it would hurt him, it would hurt the democratic party for a long time in the future if he didn't change his opinion. but the suffragists, led by alice paul, were the first united states citizens ever to protest in front of the white house. and they started in 1917. at first, woodrow wilson was luke warm at their presence. he might tip his hat at them or
politely nod at them when he would exit the north gate of the white house, but things really changed when the you state entered world war i. after the united states was involved in the war effort and the suffragists still remained outside the white house protesting, woodrow wilson grew very angry. and at a certain point in time he ordered from the white house that they be removed. so the d.c. police started arresting women outside of the white house. as it ended up, approximately 168 women were arrested outside the white house for the two years in which they protested and served prison time, either in the d.c. jail or in the workhouse 22 miles south of washington, d.c. >> prison for what? what was the charge? >> it was obstructing traffic. and, of course, they weren't obstructing traffic. they were standing on the sidewalk in front of the white house. it was a false charge. they were acting on the orders of the administration to remove the women from the area outside
the white house. they weren't breaking any laws. they were exercising free speech. just because they couldn't vote at the time didn't mean they weren't citizens and didn't have the right to free speech. >> and i'm curious, as we look at this movement that really be in earnest in early 1910, 1912, demonstrations reaching a fever pitch in new york city. we have pictures of that as well. what was the argument against giving women the right to vote? >> there were numerous arguments. there was opposition from many men, as you might imagine, but there was also a number of antisuffrage women's organizations as well. really what it was that -- a lot of men and women viewed women's role as being head of the family, being involved in some civic organizations but private civic organizations. they did not view women as having a role in the public sphere. and many women who were opposed
to suffrage thought if women did have the right to move and moved into the public sphere that they would lose their authority within the private sphere and the family. and those women didn't want to give up that status. but at that time period 100 years ago there wasn't the conception that women could play a role in both spheres, that women could have powerful positions within government but also play a role within the family and the private sphere. that wasn't really viewed as being an alternative for the women in the antisuffrage movement. they thought of it as either/or. >> colleen shogan is the senior vice president of the white house historical association. our phone lines are open.
202-748-8000 and out west, 202-748-8001. suffragists versus suffragettes. >> it's one of the first things that you learn when you study the women's suffrage movement. suffragette is a british term. in the early 1900s, a british journalist for the uk mail wrote a very negative article about the british women who were advocating for the right to vote. and he came up with the term suffra suffragette adding the "ette" to the end of it to make them sound small, in a way to say the work is to be minimized of these particular individuals. what the women did, they espoused that term.
they made it their own. they made it their own powerful term. alice paul who was an american living in great britain at the time and became part of the british women's suffrage movement really didn't like the term "suffragette." she thought it made women seem not as powerful as they should be. when alice paul returned to the united states and became a leader in the women's suffrage movement in the united states, she said it would only ever be suffragist and never suffragette. when she created her own publication for the national women's party, it was called the suffragist. when we talk about american women who advocated for the right to vote, we use the term suffragist. when we talk about british women, the correct term is suffragette. >> tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment 100 years ago this
week. what happened next? >> well, women did vote in the 1920 election. they voted probably -- probably the turnout, we can estimate somewhere between 33 and 36%. of course women's turnout increased over time and by 1980 the proportion of women voting in the united states surpassed the proportion of women -- of men voting in the united states. >> 100 years ago, one of the cartoons with the caption sky's the limit as women look at the right to vote, what that means for them politically. in 2020 and african-american on a major party ticket. the third time there's been a woman on the ticket since 1984. your reaction? >> i think it's all in a continuum of history. that's why i like the cartoon so much. it shows women moving up the ladder. certainly we have seen an historic nomination with vice
presidential candidate kamala harris and she stands on the shoulders of many women that came before her. not only the suffragists but many black women who advocated for the right to vote, fought for the right to vote even after 1920 up until 1965 and all the women who have served as members of congress and have ran for president as well. >> let's get to your phone calls. carol is first up from oregon. good morning. welcome to the conversation. >> caller: good morning. i'm really enjoying this conversation. i'm a daughter of the american revolution and we talk about these things when we have our meetings. and the one subject you just happened to mention was the african women. i would like you to point out the fact that when african women wanted to join the other women's group, they said, well, you might hurt us a little bit. but they still went on and like you said still got that right to vote. if i could hear a little bit more about that that would be
very great. thank you very much for bringing this up. i just love all of this. this is great. thank you. >> thanks for the call. >> african-american women, unfortunately, were often shut out of leadership positions in the two major women's suffrage organizations in the united states, the national women's party and the national american women's suffrage association run by carrie chapman catt. they could be involved. they spoke. they were members. but they were not powerful within these organizations and institutions. however, that didn't mean they stopped advocating for the right of all women to vote. they formed their own clubs, their own organizations and were heavily involved. some african-american women even picketed and protested in front of the white house as well and alice paul could call upon them to do so. >> let's go to patrick jioining
us from kentucky. >> caller: back in 1992 or '93, i knew a lady named lucy stevens. she was a suffer ramparagist, i saying that right. i was about 51, 52 years old and i used to see her on the street every morning walking to a neighborhood grocery store and she would carry a little sack of groceries. and i would say, hello, how are you this morning? and she would be so spry and she would talk just the way you're talking on tv now. she was very alert and very intelligent. and she was a caucasian lady. and she was just a little lady, about 5'5", about 100, 105 pounds and she was just a sweetheart. and i just wanted to relate that
to you. she would talk about her times when she was a young woman, when she was in that movement and, oh, and i really -- i was blessed just to know her. she was a wonderful saintly person. and i just wanted to reveal that to you. >> patrick, thank you. any reaction or comment? >> i think this is part of the reason why we have the centennial celebration celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment is really to recall the stories of these women. there may be a little bit of a mythology, i think, with the women's suffrage movement. if it's taught at all in american history or civics classes, it might be something like women advocated for the right to vote. they held their signs. they donned their para sols and pant loons and they were granted the right to vote. and that's not the accurate history that we're trying to
tell at the white house historical association. these women really had to fight hard for the right to vote. the movement lasted 72 years from 1848 to 1920. and there were a lot of bumps along the way. there were a lot of men in power who told them no and they figured out a way -- they would go back, restrategize and figure out a way to come back at it again. i think it's a tremendous point in american history that we can all learn from. >> but why did it reach that crescendo from 1912, 1913 until the summer of 1920? >> well, there's a number of reasons. other countries were starting to grant women the right to vote. so there was a worldwide pressure that this was coming and then also in that particular era world war i ended up actually helping women in the united states because women participated in the war effort as nurses and then also taking
over as jobs from men who were deployed over in europe. it was very hard for woodrow wilson and for others to advocate for democracy abroad and then realize they were disenfranchising over 20 million americans at home. the hypocrisy of that rhetoric became very apparent. and in fact woodrow wilson had to admit, there's no way that we can't acknowledge that women should have the full rights as citizens given the civic participation and how they have participated as leaders in this war effort. >> and woodrow wilson had three daughters from his first wife. did they put pressure on him to support the 19th amendment? >> there's not too much evidence for that. one of woodrow wilson's daughters was a very supportive of the suffrage movement and did appear at several women's suffrage conventions. there's not too much of a record
whether he petitioned woodrow wilson. one woman that was not supportive of women's suffrage was woodrow wilson's second wife edith wilson. she was an antisuffragist. she did not think women should have the right to vote. she was not supportive of the 19th amendment so she would have definitely not been a force in favor for woodrow wilson. >> the other factor is that the president at the time was in poor health, very suffered a stroke. >> that's correct. he was. and at that period of time carrie catt actually had to go to him at certain periods of time during ratification to enlist woodrow wilson's help with other democratic governors around the united states so they would call their legislatures into session so the ratification could move forward across the united states. she had to go and work through edith wilson to do that. at that point in time, woodrow
wilson had stated publicly he was in favor of the 19th amendment so edith wilson did not stand in the way. >> let's go to connie joining us from florida. good morning. welcome to the conversation. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i have a question about the first women to break ground as far as being elected to congress and as a u.s. governor. my understanding is jeanette rankin was the first woman elected to congress. are you saying that all voted for her and also the same thing for the first woman governor which i believe was in wyoming. your comment. >> thanks. let's talk about jeanette rankin. she was elected before women had the right to vote. >> yes, she was. and she only served one term in the house at that point in time. she came back to the united states congress after she had lost a bid to become a senator.
and jeanette rankin did serve an important role for women's suffrage when she was in the house. they made her the chair of the committee that would consider the 19th amendment even though she was only a freshman member of congress at the time. so she did throw her support behind the amendments so that women all across the united states would have the right to vote. >> from dover plains, new york, jan, you are next. go ahead, jan. >> caller: i have a story to tell about my grandmother who was born in 1869. so she was 50 years old when the 19th amendment was ratified and she -- my mother was talking to her and she was from north carolina as was my grandfather. she w he was quaker.
she was baptist. he was republican and she was democrat. and my mother asked her outright saying why are you going down to vote, you're only canceling each other out? and she said because i waited too long to get the right to vote and i am going to exercise it. just a word from my grandmother. >> jan, thanks for sharing the story with us. colleen shogan? >> that's a terrific story. this is a good occasion to share those stories from mothers, from grandmothers, from great grandmothers if you're able to do that. i remember when i was looking at my grandmother's birth date and i had just learned about the 19th amendment in school, and i realized that she was born before women had the right to vote. and even as a little girl, that kind of really befuddled me. what would it be like to be born into a society that you didn't have the right to vote?
>> arlene is next. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a question as to the native american women at that time, they're involvement with the 19th amendment. was there any? >> yes, there was. i'm not an expert in that particular history, but there was a native american involvement in the right to vote and there are many historians who have started to write more about native american women's involvement in the right to vote. historically native american women did have the right to vote within their communities so they're some of the earliest examples of women being politically active and having a say in what their communities decide to do and how they operate. >> you talked about carrie chapman catt, but what about sue shelton and what role she played
in tennessee? >> sue shelton in tennessee -- are you talking about sue white? >> sue shelton white. i apologize. >> got it. she was the national women's party representative down in tennessee. and it's interesting for that final battle, alice paul of course was the head of the national women's party but alice paul did not come down to tennessee for that final battle and there was a reason about -- two reasons for it. the national women's party was struggling a little bit for money and donations at the time. so alice paul actually stayed back in washington, d.c., and wanted to raise money and get more donations so she could support the efforts in tennessee. so she felt like she could play the role as the fund raiser. and the other reason was that sue white had been born in tennessee and had roots in tennessee. and what alice paul correctly concluded was it would be better to have tennessee women
advocating and directly interfacing with legislators down in tennessee rather than outsiders. even carrie chapman catt who was very involved in nashville stayed in her hotel room at the hotel. she did not interface directly with legislators who were deciding how to vote on the 19th amendment. she had her supporters from the national american women's suffrage association who were actually -- had tennessee ties doing that. >> both were pioneers in all of this. how old were they at the time and what role did they play? >> both susan b. anthony and elizabeth katy stanton and other earlier supporters were not alive when this happened. they had died earlier in the 20th century. so the women's suffrage movement really is an example of three
generations of the movement. the movement of susan b. anthony a and carrie chapman catt and the others that were involved at that point in time and the third generation is the lucy burns and alice paul generation. i da ida b. wells. three generations of activism and women to get the 19th amendment over the hump and hurdle to make it part of the constitution. >> we have a photograph of lucy burns who was in the work house located in fairfax county in virginia and she was housed there, again, for basically disrupting society, correct? >> that's correct. she was actually the american suffragist who spent the most time incarcerated, the most time
in prison than any other american suffragist. she was jailed on six separate occasions, but her sentences were quite long. she served more time in prison than anyone else and that's a great photograph of lucy burns that you have at the work house. it was likely a staged photograph. these women were very resourceful. they would have someone who was sympathic to their cause take their picture when they were imprisoned, whether it was in the d.c. jail or in the work house in virginia and then they would have that photograph taken to the outside and then of course published in newspapers all across the united states to draw more support and sympathy for their cause. they were masters of political spectacle, of imagery, and they knew that that was an effective way to garner more public support all across the united states. >> back to your phone calls in silver spring, maryland, gayle,
thank you for waiting. you're on with colleen shogan. >> caller: i know you spoke earlier in regards to african-american women marching alongside even though they weren't necessarily thought that they would bring harm to the demonstration. but i was wondering if you were familiar with a book by martha jones, a presidential professor at john hopkins called "vanguard: birthright citizens." she speaks about the role that african-american women played in the suffrage movement and also harley brown. she wrote a book called homespun heroes in 1926 and also our african-american women going to be represented in the
celebration? thank you. >> yes. great question. you're absolutely right. mart mart mart martha jones' book, i can't recommend it enough. martha is the expert on african-american women in the suffrage movement and black women in the history of american politics in general. so i heartily recommend that book and anything else that martha writes. yes, absolutely. one of the things for the commission whenever we were first organizing and talking and planning for the centennial celebration, one of the things we wanted to do was to tell the full story of the women's suffrage movement and that was an inclusive history which would include the stories of african-american women, native women, chinese women, other women who were involved in the movement who typically in maybe
previous anniversaries or previous commemorations weren't really fully given their due. and the truth of the matter is, you can't really understand the history of the women's suffrage movement because it's an american story, you really can't understand it without understanding the role that the -- the important role that race played at various times in the movement. it's impossible. if you're not taking the role of race seriously and you're not including that in the analysis or the history, then you're not telling the full story of the american women's suffrage movement. so absolutely that is part of our initiative, and if you go to our website we have a terrific blog series. it's called the suff buffs, and you will see all kinds of information on the women who played a role in the women's
suffrage movement. >> let's go back to 1920 because the republican convention held in chicago, of course, nominating warren g. harding and calvin coolidge. the democrats nominated james cox and franklin d. roosevelt. did this play out at the convention back then? >> yes, it did. at the republican convention, there was a lot of photographs and images of the national women's party, including alice paul herself, actually going to the convention and protesting outside the convention. you might ask, why were they protesting at the republican convention because republicans, historically, were more supportive of women's suffrage earlier than the democratic party. the reason was that they were marching towards trying to find this illusive 36th state to ratify. and there were two states that
were potential ratification possibilities. but they were both headed by republican governors and that was vermont and connecticut. and so what they did was go to the republican convention and protest outside to try to get warren harding to strong arm or force or convince those two republican governors to take up women's suffrage in the state legislature and call a special session because they thought correctly if the special session was called, that the state legislators would vote for the amendment and they wanted to make sure that suffrage was included in the party platform. they were successful in having suffrage included in the party platform. they were not successful in convincing warren harding to put the pressure on those two governors to have them take up the suffrage debate in the state legislatures. they went to the democratic
convention as you mentioned in san francisco and the main goal there was to make sure that the 19th amendment and support for women's suffrage was included in the platform and they were successful there. >> this is a what if question. had tennessee not ratified the 19th amendment, what would have happened next? what was the next state in line? >> well, the two possible next states in line were those northeastern states. and that's probably where it would have gone. but it would have never happened before -- with enough time to have women vote in the 1920 election. so most likely that wouldn't have happened until 1921. and it might have been favorable, you know. you would think it would have been favorable after tennessee, actually, voted to become the 36th state. both of those other states did fall in line and ratified subsequently. but it would have never happened for women to have the vote for the 1920 election. >> of course, all of this happened 100 years ago this
week, august 18th, 1920. good morning. >> good morning, steve and colleen. good morning, america. with all due respect, colleen, american indians didn't become recognized as citizens, they're own country, in 1924. so the women couldn't have been in the suffrage marching and also the native women were free and they held the standard as well as the men that they could do the job. it's only when we became under the u.s. government where we -- i'm sorry. i get these senior moments.
we lost all freedom. today, our own native women and girls are still being raped and killed and u.s. government cannot cover us. we've been asking for this, how about that? thank you. >> thank you. >> the caller is correct about 1924. so that is right. and that's an important larger point about the 19th amendment. the 19th amendment we often use the verbiage that it gave women the right to vote or enfranchised women. it really did not give women the right to vote. what it did was prevent the united states or prevent the states from creating laws or barriers that related to gender or sex that would prevent citizens from voting, right? so gender was no longer a reason why the vote could be denied.
but there were other reasons for why the vote could be denied as the caller outlines. so that is why the 19th amendment, unfortunately, did not result in all women having the right to vote in 1920. >> i want to go back to your earlier point. this is a photograph from france as the french movement was well under way. how did the u.s. compare with other countries in europe or elsewhere? >> right. so the first country to give women the right to vote is new zealand. australia follows soon after that. the first european country to enfranchise women is finland and followed by a number of other countries, norway, the netherlands, great britain gives women the right to vote in 1918 but only in a limited sense. it's phased in by age. it's not until 1928 that all women are able to vote in great
britain. germany and russia enfranchised women before the united states. canada in 1917. the united states in 1920. and then subsequently france in the 1940s, italy in the 1940s, south africa, so the united states when you look at the list of all the countries and the dates in which they enfranchised women, the united states is about the middle of the pack. they weren't the leader, but they weren't the last country to enfranchise women. >> caller: good morning. thanks so much for what you're doing there. i have a little big net story of my great grandmother who happened to be a socialite from kansas city, missouri. one of the things you might mention, what happens to people
that were of upper class that were involved in this women's suffrage union thing. what happened was, my great grandma, she married an alcoholic. and as a result she joined the women's temperance union and that was part of their flow back from world war i where all the guys came back home and they were all drunkards. and so there was a combination of suffrage of -- that's what got the women really inspired to go forward with their suffrage process. and they got people outraged. and so one of the things that my great, great grandmother did later in her life was to write cowboy novels. and the reason why that was, we were cousins to a guy named jessie wilson james. they were on a train, my great grandmother's mom and her when
she was -- in the '70s. that was in the 1870s, that i'm talking about. and they were robbed by jessie james on the train. when jessie james came there, he said, aren't you my cousin to my great grandmother's mom. and he said, yes, i am, and he gave the money back to her. there was really a lot of things going on in society at that time and i think the impact of suffrage was a combination of ingredients that came about where women had been disenfranchised over a long period of time, even the salem witch trials. they found women at risk because their husbands died and left them with a lot of money and people wanted to take that money from them. >> ron, you've got to write a book. talk about some connections. >> caller: it's worse than that
because i haven't mentioned we are related to rutherford b. hays and also to woodrow wilson, a farther reach. but as i mentioned to you, the part of this whole process, there were a lot of socialites that were involved. my great grandma came from kansas city, missouri. >> what a great story. six degrees of separation. >> caller: steve, one more thing i might mention. in her later years she was writing cowboy novels and i'll tell you about how women get disenfranchised, when she first started writing cowboy novels about her life she would send it in with her name on it and no one would publish a woman author. so she changed her name to her son's name in order to get the publisher to publish these
cowboy novels. >> now you have to write the book, ron. we'll feature it on book tv. i appreciate it. >> yes, i think there's a lot there. first, the first point the caller makes is about class and the interesting part about the women's suffrage movement is there were women who were working class, industrial workers, teachers, who became part of the movement and there were also, as the caller said, there were wealthier women who became very involved in the movement. some of them became funders to the movement in washington, d.c., we have the belmont paul house right next to the united states capitol and that's named after eva belmont who was the major funder. but some of the women didn't just write checks. they went to jail. they stood outside. they were picketers. they were protestors. and in fact this is what draws a lot of woodrow wilson's
attention when some of these women are being arrested who are more predominant in society and their husbands are friends with woodrow wilson and they come to the white house and they complain to wilson saying, what are you doing? why is my wife in jail or prison 22 miles south of washington, d.c., in a work house? that starts to get wilson's attention because of the spouses that are coming to complain to wilson about the treatment. but there was also working-class women, women that worked in factories, women who worked in education that would travel across the united states to come -- particularly for alice paul and participate in the pickets. the other question was about the beginning of the movement and the caller is correct with that. there's at least two movements that come before the women's
suffrage movement. first earlier was the abolition movement. many of the early suffragists gained their organizational, their political skills, how to give a speech, how to write a speech, how to write an article for a newspaper, all through the abolition movement. and then later on was also the temperance movement and the temperance union which was the major organization. the two heads of the major organizations, carrie chapman catt and alice paul, they tried to keep it separate from the women's suffrage movement because they didn't want to offend others who weren't supportive of temperance. they wanted to make sure they had the widest net and widest tent possible. >> this is one of the many photographs we've been showing. this is from 1913 as women from foreign countries marching here in washington, d.c., pushing for women's right to vote.
how often were these parades or demonstrations and based on your research, what was the reaction by the general public? >> sure, that's the famous parade that took place on march 3rd, 1913. it's the first major social protest that exists in washington, d.c., the first parade of its time. the first march on the capitol that takes place. and alice paul who was the organizer along with lucy burns, they didn't know how many people would show up. historians disagree about the number of people who were in the crowd. but it was probably somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people. and what happened was, the crowd got rowdier as the day went on. there were a lot of bars and is a saloons that lined the route.
and men would get a drink and come back to the parade. at the end, most of the men were intoxicated. they rushed out onto the parade route. there was a lot of physical abuse upon the women. the d.c. police unfortunately were not helpful to the suffragists who were marching and the secretary of war was watching the parade. he had to call out the cavalry by nearby fort meyer to come in and break up the mob that had existed so the women could continue down pennsylvania avenue and finish at the treasury department which was the end point of the parade. so these took place, you know, in major cities and the reason why, you might say, why was alice paul so interested in having a parade especially when something like this could happen in 1913 which seemed like a little bit of a disaster. the reason why was it brought great attention to the cause and
alice paul's whole strategy was the more i can create a spectacle, the more i can be in the media, the more i can be in the news about women's suffrage, the more people will learn about the fact that women don't have the vote all across the united states and the more people that will become sympathetic to the cause. she was a master at expanding the scope of the conflict. >> there was an organization called the men's league for women's suffrage. who was behind that? what was the mission? >> there were -- it's also a myth to say that this was men versus women in this movement. there were many men along the way who were very supportive of women's suffrage. we don't see them in a lot of the photographs because that was on purpose. alice paul wanted to have the actual suffragists, the actual members of her parties photographed in front of the white house and showing them in
various situations in which they were advocating the right to vote. but there were many men along the way who were supportive. carrie chapman catt's husband who was actually quite wealthy, essentially bankrolled her participation in the movement because he was able to support her and support all of her travels related to women's suffrage. >> michael is next from new york. good morning. >> caller: hey, good morning. colleen shogan, it's so fitting this topic that you guys are talking about today with women's rights and rights to vote and whatnot, everything that's going on in the world. and as we reflect back, we look back into the abolitionist movement as you speak and how instrumental women were then. it ties into the next movement, the suffrage movement, where harriet t
harriet tubman was this abolitionist that helped freed slaves. we have to look at women as being instrumental in this process of getting rights to vote. it's so fitting today you guys have this on with what's going on with the post office and rights to vote. it's so important to exercise our right and the women saw that back in the day. and i just love history. i would love to see this stuff come up. it reminds us of where we came from. so as i look back here locally, seneca falls being the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement, it's a historical feature. every time i drive through the town, it's a sight to see. they have a special museum up there and everything. i don't know if you've ever been there, colleen, have you? >> that's a good question. i was scheduled to go to seneca falls this summer. we had a very big celebration planned for seneca falls as part
of their convention day celebrations every july. but unfortunately due to the pandemic we were unable to make that trip. however, the commission had decided in lieu of what we had planned in july, we have been working with a sculptor and we are going to be adding a series of monuments at seneca falls commemorating diverse women in the movement and those plans are under way and we hope to have the statues erected next year. >> you mentioned edith wilson who was the second wife of woodrow wilson after the death of his first wife. opposed to women's right to vote. was there an organized effort by her or other women that did not want to see women have the right to vote? >> absolutely. edith wilson wasn't involved in the antisuffrage movement, she was just personally antisuffrage and made her opinions known to woodrow wilson and others in the white house.
there was organized antisuffrage organizations or clubs just as there were women's suffrage organizations to promote the 19th amendment. there were organizations that were -- that had been constructed really to stop the 19th amendment. and you see this very clearly in tennessee, in nashville, at this final fight in august of 1920 because all of the organizations descend upon nashville. both of course the pro suffrage organizations but also the antisuffrage organizations and also we haven't talked about this yet, but there were corporate influences, special interest groups that were opposed to women's suffrage. the manufacturing industry, the railroad industry and the liquor industry. and they played a very important role at that last fight in nashville. they descended upon the hotel,
set up shop and engaged in aggressive lobbying of all the tennessee state legislators. >> in case you're interested, in today's "new york times" this editorial, the milestone and the myth called the 19th amendment. luann is next. go ahead, please. >> caller: good morning. i was the curator at the woodrow wilson house museum in washington, d.c., in 1995 for a celebration of the 75th anniversary. i led a team of three of our other guides and some volunteers and i would like to mention a couple things, if you'll indulge me. first, there's a gigantic rich wealth of artifacts and documents across the country for all 50 states for researchers that are researching this or
with the boom in ancestry looking up what your family might have done. among the things we borrowed were cartoons from the -- what was then belmont house in washington, the home of the national women's party. there are songs, there was a wonderful song that was based on a 1920 song called "oh dear what can the matter be" and it went, oh, dear, what can the matter be? women want the right to vote. the women who would picket wilson would use his own words against him as they burnt his words in kettles and caldrans and i would also like to mention
there's clothing that still exists, sacks. when you see the picture of women handing out the various newspapers. and then i would just like to encourage every women of age to vote this year because when you do study this history, women were jailed, they were given little jailed door pens if they had gone to jail and we have those in the exhibit. but they were force fed. and some of those women could never eat well again for the rest of their life because of the scars and damage from that. it's a hard won battle in this country, one that i hope and i hold close to my heart and vote every year, encourage everyone to do so. but we named it, again, an active right in justice because when wilson did turn the tide, that was part of his speech to congress. but i have to tell you, we got a
big laugh because when we started this and started going to archives and identified where we were from, we would have women from archives or women experts turn to us and almost in a whipser go, you do know he was the bad guy, don't you? and we would get a wick out kic that. he did turn the tide and it was his speech in congress that very much helped the effort. >> some of that is on display at the wilson house. we have a photograph of it here in washington, d.c., where he lived after he left the presidency, correct? >> yes. >> thank you for the call. colleen shogan. >> i agree with everything that was said. we certainly have a terrific repository relate today the women's suffrage movement. my former employer probably has the most robust collection of women's suffrage manuscripts, prints and photographs and that's because the librarian of
congress at the time was friends with all the suffragists and he convinced them to donate their materials to the library of congress. the national arkanschives has a strong role given its history in voting and american history and the smithsonian museum did a lovely exhibit to document many, many women's suffragists and all of those materials are online at the respective websites. even though we can't visit those museums and archives, we have visit them digitally. >> women'svote100.com. the centennial of women earning the right to vote. jon is next from texas. good morning. >> caller: i was hoping you could speak a little bit about it, 100 years on, it's difficult to understand the point of view of the women antisuffragettes.
could you talk about their fears or their reasonings for their positions? >> thank you, john. >> yes. they simply -- women at that time who were opposed to the right to vote, there was a couple reasons. first, they simply were afraid of giving up their stature within the family and the private sphere. they viewed the men in their lives, their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, they thought they could represent them adequately at the polls. that politics was a dirty business. that it wasn't something that women who were viewed in the notion of republican motherhood, they were viewed as pure, sanctua sanctuary fied. if they entered in that sphere of politics, they would become down and dirty just like the men. and many of the women enjoyed the elevated status of purity
that that really was promoted at that time. even teddy roosevelt who was a progressive until 1912, he did come out for women voting. but previously he was hesitant when he was president because he said, well, yes, it would make sense for women to vote but why would they want to enter this sphere of politics which would damage their reputation? women's role really are as mothers, mothers to their children, and mothers to the entire nation. this notion of republican motherhood. and they really shouldn't be advocating for the public sphere to the right to vote. in the last battle in tennessee, i will say quickly that a lot of the women who were opposed to suffrage in tennessee were opposed to women voting because they did not want black women to have the right to vote. and they thought that the 19th amendment would be a march towards the enfranchisement of
more african-american women voting in tennessee and also voting elsewhere in the south because, of course, the 19th amendment would apply nationwide. it wouldn't simply just apply to tennessee. so there was great concern about the role of race in that last battle. >> we'll go to john next from virginia. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a question, i was a little curious, after the civil war, the black men all had the right to vote, supposedly, even though the democrats did the best to keep them from voting. when the woman got the right to vote, how did they separate the black women? why would they not have the right to vote since the black men already had the right to vote? >> right. they were subject to the same state laws or local laws that black men were subject to.
so the common methods in which they would prevent voting on the basis of race was either literacy tests or poll taxes which were applied throughout the south and in some places actually in the northeast, at least with literacy tests. but the other method that was used particularly in the south, you have to remember, was there was the rise at this point in time of the ku klux klan and southern segregationists and white supremacists would use the extra legal method of intimidation to prevent both black women and black men from voting. >> so put this anniversary into perspective. what was the significance of women getting the right to vote in 1920 and where are we today in 2020? >> the significance of women voting all across the united states in 1920 was really
astronomical. the turnout was somewhere between 33% and 36%. but even that is extraordinary of how many more millions of americans at that point in time were voting in 1920 than had voted in the previous elections. the 19th amendment was -- did represent the largest enfranchisement of american citizens in our nation's history. and as we look to 2020, you know, women now outvote men proportionally both in numbers -- in the aggregate and also as a percentagewise. and i think there's an interesting statistic as well from what we've seen in the past couple of elections, actually, african-american women vote in higher percentages and proportions than white men in this country. when you think about the double disadvantage that
african-american women have had both because of their gender or sex and also because of their race, i think that's really extraordinary statistic to reflect and think about. >> based on your research, when those women cast their ballots in 1920, did they face any pressure at the ballot box? >> well, women largely voted republican in 1920, but the 1920 election was a landslide for harding. so that was really no surprise. there was a lot of writing that says that women simply voted the same way as their husbands or the same way as their fathers. unfortunately there's really -- since there was no exit polling in 1920, there's no way for us to actually know whether or not that was the case. >> the story of women earning the right to vote 100 years ago. colleen shogan, she's the vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission and serves as the senior vice president of the white house historical
association. thank you for being here with us on american history tv. >> thank you very much. weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight, a look at women in politics. on the night that democratic vice presidential candidate kamala harris addresses the convention, we show past speeches from two women vice presidential speeches, geraldine ferraro and sarah palen. next a visit to the smithsonian's national portrait gallery. kate clarke lemay gives american history a guided tour of an exhibit marking the