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tv   C-SPAN Cities Tour- Womens Suffrage  CSPAN  August 17, 2020 2:05am-3:06am EDT

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vote for joe biden. watch live at 7:00 eastern. watch the latest convention schedule information on our website. a synopsis of the days latest events. >> monday, dnc chairman tom campaign joe biden's manager offer a preview of day one of the democratic national convention. at noon, a conversation with former secretary of state hillary clinton on u.s. foreign policy hosted by the atlantic
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council. in the president travels to minnesota to give remarks on the economy live at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. in 1840 eight, convention was held in seneca falls, new york, discussed the state of women's rights in the country. this was the beginning of the women's suffrage movement. 1920 four women to earn the right to vote. during those years, would form,s creating a national movement. it was women in every community who led the effort in their towns and states to amend rights. some ofintroduce you to these women who dedicated their lives to this cause.
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you will learn why western territories in states where on the leading edge of the movement. and you will hear how a letter from a mother to her son would lead to the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the rights to vote. york,in in syracuse, new where an author talks about one of the movements's known figures, lucretia mott.
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>> she was born on the island of nantucket. but she lived most of her life in philadelphia. that was the city from which she based her activism. it stretched across the u.s. and the atlantic. she defined herself as a feminist and a women's rights
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activist. commitment to women's rights to her child. it was a community based on the whaling industry. on men would usually go off years long voyages. a lot of them ran businesses. andn's independence capability was self-evident. quakers were the first denomination to allow women to preach. she had already seen female ministers. a minister in 1821. she got married to her husband in 1811.
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there was nothing to indicate that she would become a great activist. she eventually had six children who lived to adulthood. she became a quaker minister. none of this was unusual. the key moment in her life that turned her into an activist was a controversy in the society of friends. this happened in the 1820's. into two competing, hostile groups, known as the hicksite and the orthodox quakers. lucretia mott was a hicksite quaker named after their leader, elias hicks. the hicksites were -- one of the issues that they focused on was that they believed that the leadership of the society of friends had become complacent on the issue of slavery.
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so lucretia mott puts a lot of pressure on him, actually, to give up that business and eventually, he became a wool merchant by 1830. that was a radicalizing decade for her. she would speak on women's issues and anti-slavery issues when she became a minister. that was a formative period for her. but i think in the early 1830's in philadelphia, philadelphia had the largest population of three blacks in the north. lucretia mott would have interacted them in free produce societies, for example, and probably tried to speak in african-american churches and otherwise connected with them. there were a lot of race riots in philadelphia in the early 1830's. so the intensity of northern racism was very visible to her, and so, when she attended the founding meeting of the american anti-slavery society in 1833, and then, thereafter founded the philadelphia female anti-slavery society, she believed their goal should not only be fighting slavery but also racial prejudice.
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it was a two-pronged approach. one of the things she did frequently, whenever she met a slaveholder, as she did when she was traveling abroad or around the united states, she would often speak in delaware, virginia and slaveholding states, kentucky, she would engage, she would try to convince that slaveholder that slavery was wrong. you know? rather than being polite or you know, just tolerating this lady, poking them in the ribs, she seemed to have had some individual, personal success. she set this one slaveholder i met told me to send him some pamphlets when i got home and i will send him some pamphlets. i think, again, she was not afraid of confrontation and engagement, and she was going to try to persuade people that slavery was wrong no matter where she was and who they were. lucretia mott was not interested in politics or the political process, but she did speak on
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multiple occasions in washington, d.c., and at one point, she was supposed to speak in congress, but because she would not agree not to talk about slavery, if that is clear, they would not let her speak. so, she spoke at a unitarian church and all sorts of politicians, including congressmen attended. of course, she spoke about slavery, because that is what she was compelled to speak about. during that trip to washington, d.c. in 1843, she also met president tyler and his line about lucretia mott was, you know, i think i will turn mr. calhoun over to you, you can negotiate with john c. calhoun for me. lucretia mott first met elizabeth stanley in -- when they met, they met in sort of an unlikely place which was at the world's anti-slavery convention in london, england in 1840.
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two americans meeting in london. they had other connections, but lucretia mott was there as a delegate from various american anti-slavery societies. she was there to attend the convention. elizabeth cady stanton was there on her honeymoon. she had just married an abolitionist named henry stanton. for her, it was a european tour rather than a political journey. the two women instantly connected.
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elizabeth cady stanton later described lucretia mott as a revelation of womanhood. she said i did not know it was possible for women to be so outspoken and independent. she really became an admirer of lucretia mott. elizabeth cady stanton refer to lucretia mott as the moving spirit of the seneca falls convention of 1848. it was a label lucretia mott rejected. she said elizabeth, you should claim that for yourself. but it was the fact that lucretia mott was in the area that the convention was held and her presence was advertised to draw attendees. her sister lived in auburn, new york, which was not far from seneca falls, so she would come up to this part of the country regularly. when she came up in 1848, she was engaged in a number of activities. she attended an annual quaker meeting. the genesee early meeting. she traveled to ontario, canada, to visit former slaves, american slaves who had fled to canada. she went to the seneca
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reservation and witnessed them writing their constitution. she is actually engaging very in all of these interesting activities in the summer of 1848, native american rights, african-american rights, and women's rights. before the seneca falls convention in july, 1848, she meets up with her old friend, elizabeth cady stanton and other quakers in the area. they decide to hold this convention devoted to women, and the civil condition, and they advertised that lucretia mott will be there and she will be the principal speaker.
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once a newspaper called her a grizzled speaker of the movement. that she had somehow shed her femininity by engaging in activism. but the women's rights movement, the antislavery movement held her up as a paragon of womanhood. they said lucretia mott is an example that you can do both, be an excellent wife, mother, grandmother, and have a public life, be an activist. for her, the activism and the family life blended seamlessly because her husband was also an abolitionist and active in a lot of the same organizations she was. he attended the first women's rights convention in seneca falls and shared the convention -- chaired the convention. and her children also became involved in the philadelphia
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antislavery society. and other organizations for women's rights and women's suffrage in philadelphia. in many ways, her activism was a family affair. there was not a lot of conflict. at her funeral, someone said -- silence is appropriate for a quaker funeral, but someone said, who can speak? the preacher is dead. that is how much of a void had been left by lucretia mott's death, because she always had something to say. i think that made her in some ways too good. she has become almost what elizabeth cady stanton made her, almost a saint. and in actuality, she was a deeply radical person for her time and was not afraid to speak her beliefs. >> in 1869 in new york city, elizabeth cady stanton and susan b anthony founded the national women's suffrage association for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. however, much of the women's movement's early progress came in the west. in oregon, duniway, who established a pro-suffrage newspaper became active in the movement after her husband's business failed.
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>> benjamin duniway was a good husband and father to the children. he did not have may be the level of business skills that somebody should have in managing a farm. because of his kindness and generosity, he cosigned a loan for a friend, and the friend defaulted on that loan, and as a result, the duniways lost their farm. that was in the mid-1860's. after that, benjamin was involved in a farming accident, and he became disabled. it therefore fell to abigail to become the breadwinner for the family. she did some teaching, again, but eventually decided to move down to albany, oregon, a little town further south in the willamette valley, and she set
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up a milliner shop, a hat shop. apparently, she was quite successful in that business. she even traveled to san francisco to get supplies for her business. but an important thing happened when she interacted with the women who came into her shop. she became aware of difficulties in their lives. the head no life, no standing in the community. they could not own property. they were dependent on their husbands and their husbands goodwill to lead a good life, and she saw a lot of women suffering because of that. at one point she realized, if women could vote, they could enact change themselves and change lives to benefit all
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women and all people. so, she turned her attention to the suffrage movement. she moved her family back to portland in the 1870's. her first effort was to start her own newspaper. that was called the new northwest. this was the vehicle she used to communicate about her suffrage efforts. and the whole family, many members of her family were involved in producing this newspaper. one of her sons was a printer. it was kind of like a family enterprise. she communicated through the new northwest.
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that was important part of for developing skill in becoming a suffrage leader in the northwest. she also communicated with national suffrage leaders. in 1871, she coordinated a visit by susan b anthony out to the west and traveled with her on a speaking tour in california. in very short order, i think it is very remarkable, in very short order, she all of a sudden had significant standing and presence in the suffrage movement. harvey scott was her brother. he traveled with the family on the oregon trail. apparently, he had been abusive to his siblings, and there are accounts of him beating up the sisters. he kind of continued that tradition. when the family came to oregon, eventually, he became an editor
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at the portland oregonian, the largest newspaper in oregon and one of the largest in the pacific northwest. and he was an anti-suffragist. so, he wrote editorials against suffrage. so, in a way, he continued to beat up on abigail, even as they were adults. in the 1900 campaign, i believe suffrage would've passed had it not been for harvey scott's editorials in the portland oregonian. if you tabulate the number of votes cast, primarily in multnomah county, it was really what blocked the passage of suffrage that year. here is a letter abigail is writing to her son clyde -- this is the 1900 campaign and they are waiting for the returns to come in, and she says my dear clyde, last night, after anxious waiting for returns, during which the oregonian and your mad uncle have subjected the women
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of oregon to every form of insult -- with the four counties we depend on. she says, i was quite sick until i got the returns. despite the abuse of the oregonian, now i will set the coward up -- she was referring to her brother, harvey. change came about in a way that measures could be presented to the citizenry for voting. initially, when duniway started out on her campaign work, she used what she called the still
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hunt, which was to quietly get in good with the men who had been elected to the oregon legislature. she would curry their favor and she did it quietly because she did not want to stir the opposition. that resulted in the measure for women's suffrage to be presented on the ballot. and each time, it was defeated. in oregon, suffrage was presented six times, more than any other state. but eventually, during the progressive movement, a
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particular person wanted to change that process. he advocated for a referendum system that all the states now use. it's called the oregon system. that way, people could gain support for measures by getting enough signatures, and then it would be presented to the voters. by the time suffrage was passed in oregon, duniway's technique was not effective because it was not necessary. eventually, there were many other women who came forward to carry on the campaign, one woman in particular spearheaded the
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effort. it was largely through their effort and the use of more modern campaign techniques, like mass mailings, storefront campaign shops, marching in parades, more radical techniques like that really pushed it over and managed to pass suffrage in 1912 in oregon. when suffrage was passed in 1912, duniway -- you know, she was often bedridden during the 1912 campaign when suffrage passed. she wasn't effective, but she had been working for suffrage for 42 years by that time.
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she had devoted her life to this cause. and people feted her. she was celebrated when suffrage finally passed. which was really great. a lot of people sent congratulatory telegrams to her. here are some examples. to ms. abigail scott duniway, congratulations on the triumph of justice. this one from medford. the medford equal justice association offers you congratulations. your many days of effort for the cause of women may be crowned with success. this was sent before the vote. this was in october and the vote was in november.
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>> we sincerely congratulate the women of oregon upon their new citizenship. this wonderful victory must help us to success in the future, from the cleveland women's suffrage party. send love and congratulations to our dearest trailblazer who has made its dawning possible. the congratulations poured in. it's just so wonderful that she lived long enough to see suffrage passed in oregon, and she voted. she was able to vote in multnomah county, which was pretty special. we have in the collection a scrapbook that duniway kept during her years as a suffrage leader. it has some photographs in it. it includes some lectures. it also includes things like some correspondence and newspaper clippings that she kept. this is also a really great resource for any researcher who wants to study the topic of the history of suffrage in oregon or about duniway's life.
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>> in her pursuit for suffrage in oregon, abigail scott duniway would travel throughout the northwest to meet with fellow suffragists. one of her stops was in the home of daniel and elizabeth bigelow in washington. they would work to bring suffrage to washington in 1910. >> we are at the bigelow house on the east side of olympia, one of the city's oldest homes. it was built in 1860. it was built by daniel and elizabeth white bigelow. both came over the oregon trail in the early 1850's. when daniel bigelow arrived in olympia, he set up his law practice and was evidently a
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great orator as well. he was called upon in july of 1852. he is credited with spurring the development of a separate territory of washington from oregon. washington became a separate territory from oregon in 1853, and daniel bigelow was elected to the first legislative session held here in olympia. we know that daniel and elizabeth were both active in the campaign for voting rights for women. this is the chair where susan b anthony sat when she came to the house in 1871. she and abigail scott duniway, the oregon suffragist, were on a swing through the pacific northwest. she had dinner here at the bigelow house. we know that from her diary where she called misses bigelow splendid.
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at the time, there was a lot of advocacy for women's right to vote. he gave a landmark speech about women's suffrage. he said if i understand the principles of self government. man has no more right to say a woman shall or shall not vote than a woman has to say of man. as a matter of natural right, i know of no valid argument to deny franchise to women anymore than man. in our form of government, the more universal the right of
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franchise, the greater the security to individual rights. in 1871, susan b anthony addressed the territorial legislature. she and the bigelow's, along with the other suffragists, worked together to form the very first washington territory women's suffrage association, and they held their convention here in olympia in november of 1871. this really set a wonderful framework for advocacy for women to gain the right to vote. and the territory enacted women's right to vote in washington in 1873. it was only women in wyoming and utah who had the right to vote after the civil war before women in washington. it was quite challenging, as you might imagine. there was concern that women would vote for prohibition. if they had the right to vote, they could also serve on juries. and there was a series of cases that came before the territorial supreme court, first upholding the right to vote, and then in 1887, women's right to vote was invalidated on a technicality. finally in 1910, women in washington permanently received the right to vote. it was just the fifth state in the union where women had the right to vote. >> this year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. wyoming was the 27th state to pass that amendment. however, decades earlier, wyoming as a territory past the first suffrage laws in the u.s.
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we explain why this territory was a prime spot for this historic legislation. >> we are in the women's hallway of the laramie plains museum in wyoming. this tells the story of why wyoming was so unique, granting women this right to vote, hold property, and elected office. december 10 of 1869, the wyoming territorial legislature dictated this and it was signed by governor campbell, granting women this act. it is so remarkable that we have a copy of this. they have it at the capitol, but we have this copy that is so extraordinary. the writing said what was happening in the west. because of this act, december 10, 1869, giving women full rights, we had the first woman governor, first woman bailiff, first woman on a jury.
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all of wyoming's women were able to be in the legislature. we had esther morris, the first woman justice of the peace. we had nelly taylor ross, the first woman governor in the world. all of these were fallout from the beautiful suffrage act of december 10, 1869. here we have mentions of a few more women that were important. here we have a great thing, her friends were so worried. she writes and says yes, some of my friends are eastern girls who judge women's suffrage by the english suffrage reports and think that any woman who votes must be dreadful while a woman who holds office is beyond hope. i told them about a friend of mine who had recently been
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elected to county office and i assured them she was as nice, modest, and womanly as anyone. they had to take my word for it but they assured me you could not possibly say so. you would undoubtedly become bold and unmanaged in a short time. when we leave this hallway we are going to go out through the foyer and into the salon which has been set up as a defense of suffrage. come with me. we are going to go into the drawing room of the victorian age. we are here showcasing a defense of the suffrage act. here are the ivansons. this home is the largest
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artifact we have and this is from when they first came to laramie. they arrived on that first train with nothing here. they built this house 24 years later. in here, we tell laramie history like this. december 10, 1869, the wyoming territorial legislature passes this law. why is that happening in the west? why is it happening in wyoming? at the time, it was separating the wyoming territory from the dakota territory. and the legislature did it, we believe, because they needed to attract women to the west. this was a place of cowboys and railroad workers. we had the union pacific coming
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in from california. and the legislature wanted to attract women to come and be part of this adventure. so they gave them full rights. full voting rights. full holding property rights. full political office rights. there was no other state that could claim that, no other territory. north dakota and utah like to claim the first woman voter, and they may have, but they voted in restrictions. wyoming women never had to do that. they voted on the same terms as men. so, in here, we have elizabeth cady stanton coming to the salon to listen to the defense of suffrage.
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it was passed in 1869. in 1871, wyoming was getting so much grief, the legislature was saying maybe we should rescind this act. this is an exhibit of stephen speaking about this, possibly in this salon, speaking about a defense of the act, because in 1871, people were giving the wyoming territory such grief about having an act where women had the same rights as men. so he gave a remarkable speech and spoke to the wyoming public about how important it was that we keep it, retain it, and it was retained in 1871 by one vote in the legislature. fast-forward.
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wyoming wants to become a state. washington, d.c., says nowhere else in the world or the united states is giving women these rights. you need to rescind the act to become a state. wyoming said we don't care then. we won't become a state. so, when you talk about the first woman voter in 1869, first women on a jury, first woman bailiff, first woman justice of the peace, all of this could happen because wyoming had given women that right. it's a fact that nobody ever knows about.
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and how great is it that we can tell this story? this was a gift given to women and men by the men of the wyoming territory. >> the national american women's suffrage association would continue to focus on gaining women's suffrage at the state level. the national women's party wanted a constitutional amendment. their strategy included a two-year protest in front of the white house from 1917 to 1919. one of the protesters was hazel hunkens halinan from billings, montana. >> a tiny, gray-haired woman with a feminist vocabulary, a notorious arrest record, and a surprisingly sharp tongue. hazel hunkens halinan grew up in colorado and came to billings in 1903, and becomes one of the better students of billings senior high. she was voted most popular, second smartest, third most
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conceited. she makes her way to college, gets a chemistry degree, and works in chemistry labs until 1916. she comes back home to care for her ailing mother, and when her mother starts feeling better, she starts applying for more jobs for chemistry labs. she is told several times, you are qualified, but we don't really want a woman working in our labs, and she decides, that is what i am going to do. i am going to get involved with the women's fight. so one of the first things she and her comrades did was protest in front of the white house for several years. they protested, carrying signs, demanding equal rights and suffrage for women. at one point, they had 2000 anti-suffragist protesters against less than two dozen
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women protesting for their rights, and the anti-suffragist protesters tore their signs away. the next day, they would come back again with more signs saying we want the right to vote, and they would be arrested. so these two or three dozen women kept this vigilant activity up in front of the white house. they hoped president wilson would create national suffrage. we did not hear of her in billings, montana. once we started looking at the national press and san francisco examiner, hazel was reported to light watch fires under president wilson's window. the washington post wrote that she climbed a picket and had her sign torn away from her and was then arrested. the same story covered in the billings gazette said billings woman, innocent victim. so the coverage she was getting
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in billings was completely different than what the national press was doing. initially the press welcomed them. and they said oh, isn't this sweet? here is a cute little girl from montana, 23, smart. but once world war i kicked in in april of 1917, these protesters were looked at completely differently. and what she said to defend herself was we see all these soldiers being sent overseas to fight for democracy. we're just doing the same thing here in our own country. the women with the national women's party are fighting for democracy on our own soil. with the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, hazel lumpkin then completely transforms herself and becomes a different type of feminist.
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she marries a chicago reporter and they moved to england. they moved to england and she lives in london for the next 50 years and becomes the leader of the six point eight, a feminist organization out of england. she's the only american born leader in that group in 50 years. in 1977, she comes back to the u.s. to fight for the equal rights amendment. she ends up marching in the protests, she is called a hell raiser at age 87. she ends up at a rose garden ceremony with president carter to sign for national women's day. he supports their activities and causes. so this is a lifelong process for her. it's fun, when i tell this story, i could stop at the equal rights amendment and say this is a life worth looking at. but then you add 50 years of feminist leadership in england and i can stop then and say this is a life worth looking at.
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but then i can take people into the 1970's and talk about her work with the equal rights amendment and that fight there. she was not afraid to speak her mind. in the end, she chose to be buried with her husband at mountain view cemetery here in billings. >> in the early years of the suffrage movement, an eight-year-old emma smith devote would attend a speech given by susan b. anthony encouraging her to carry the fight into the 20th century. she would play an important role in suffrage legislation in several states, including washington in 1910. >> washington's important in the national suffrage effort comes by the fact that we were the first state in the 20th century and followed almost a 20 year lag between states adopting their own suffrage amendment and it takes a certain number of states to pass a national
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amendment to the constitution. we were the fifth state. in all of the first about six were located here in the west. washington became a pivotal state making that leap into the 20th century, and after we passed it in 1910, there was a domino effect across the country. immediately, oregon passes it in 1911 followed by california, and then moved to the dakotas, nebraska, montana and progressed across to new york in 1919 and then the national amendment passes in 1920. so you could call us a big turning point in the effort to gain suffrage for women in the
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united states. in 1848, the big event that began the suffrage movement did happen in new york. that was the women's convention in seneca falls led by susan b anthony among other leaders. interestingly enough, right after that, she began, susan b anthony began a whirlwind trip to territorial areas of the united states and states to advocate for women's rights and to vote. one of the early leaders in the 20th century in washington state saw her in 1848 as an eight-year-old barnstorming through illinois. that is emma smith devoe who ends up becoming a leader of the washington state suffrage movement and lived and worked here in tacoma near our history museum. she saw susan b anthony in central illinois when she was eight years old and susan b anthony asked who in the
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audience believes women should have the right to vote. as an eight-year-old, she stood up, and that was a memorable experience that definitely has a connection to our state from 1848 right through to 1910. right about the same time as the women's convention in seneca falls, women and men, families were traveling west. these were hearty people and at that time, about 1850, congress passed the oregon donation land claim laws. anybody who came to the oregon territory before 1849 got out right 640 acres of land. after 1850, they cut it in half to 320 acres. but the interesting thing is that amount of land, half of it was in the women's name.
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320 acres were given to a couple. if you were a single man, you got half that. if you are a single woman, you got half of that. half the acreage was always in the woman's name. right away, women have land claim ownership. that was an important part of the oregon trail era. by 1853, washington becomes a separate territory from oregon, and in the first territorial legislation meeting in olympia which becomes our capital city eventually, the early delegates wanted to pass women's suffrage in washington, that was part of the platform for the first legislative session in that territorial congress for washington, and it got voted down. but it was brought up right away, and there were early men in the legislature who advocated for women's suffrage. fast forward to the 1880's, and washington is working very hard at the effort to become a state, which is achieved in 1889.
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in the 1880's, women in the territories win the right to vote in 1883. immediately, they start to vote for a more progressive agenda in the territorial legislature, and they unseat some of the more corrupt leaders in communities like the seattle mayor who is known to have influence with the saloons, prostitution and gambling. they vote him out of office. you can imagine suffrage is not proving that popular with a lot of people. while the legislature in those days before we were a state could vote yea or nay and pass suffrage, it did not take an
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amendment to the constitution. women argue the first territorial constitution said he or male in a lot of places, but it should have said women and men. they passed it, but who got it rescinded in 1888? the territorial supreme court who was opposed to women voting and one particular justice really, really opposed it and opposition came because men did not want women serving on juries. that is where the division came up in the territorial supreme court short version is they voted -- they passed a decision that removed the women's right to vote. so that little girl who stood up for susan b anthony in 1848 has relocated here with her husband. she has, in the interim years, been a paid staffer working on
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behalf of suffrage and temperance throughout the midwest. by paid, she was paid i think a hundred dollars a month by the national american women's suffrage association. so she comes out here to become the leader of the washington state suffrage movement. by 1906, her husband works for the great northern railroad, so she has a salary and he gets her railroad passes so she can travel all over on a free railroad ticket, which was a great advantage.
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they moved to tacoma, and she along with others establishes the washington equal suffrage association, which she is president of. i thought it was interesting that her message becomes the most powerful, to counteract this view that washington women don't want suffrage. they really work hard organizing through 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908 and we know we want to get this suffrage bill passed, so we have to get an amendment out there to the voters, and it has to be passed by two thirds of a majority of voters, male voters in the state of washington to pass. so we have a combination of important women coming together. emma smith davoe, our tacoma based leader of the group joins
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up with this very colorful woman named may arkwright hutton. she was a camp cook in the silver mines in northern idaho. in the court elaine district. she married a railroad engineer by the name of hutton and they buy an interest in the hercules mine. the hercules mine becomes the most profitable silver mine of that era. they become millionaires almost overnight. she is a very colorful figure, so you have emma, who is kind of coming out of the temperance, abolitionist, suffrage movement and you have may who comes out to this from a colorful past and together, they descend on olympia and the legislature. that is all men, of course.
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they work together in different ways to get the legislature to approve an amendment for the ballot. in january of 1909, the house votes for the amendment and it passes i think by 10 to 20 votes. in february, the senate votes, the washington state senate passes by a bigger majority and on february 25, 1909, the governor signs a bill to create the opportunity for washingtonians to vote for suffrage for women in washington state. that vote is going to come up before washington men in november of 1910. the suffrage amendment passes on november 8, 1910, and washington becomes the fifth state in the union to pass suffrage. the people coming west were people who were probably risktakers, were working to break out of some conventional
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life they might have experienced in the east, and a lot of suffragettes came out here and worked from the east and worked hard because they saw the opportunity. >> since the seneca fall convention in 1848, 71 years would pass before congress proposed a 19th amendment to the u.s. constitution prohibiting the denial of voting rights based on gender. the amendment would require ratification by 36 states. by august 1920, 35 states had ratified the amendment with the tennessee legislature set to vote on the matter. on the eve of the vote, one
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young legislator received a persuasive letter from his mother. >> a letter that was written by phoebe burns to her son, harry t burns, a brand-new legislator in 1920. he was 24 years old and had just been elected to the legislature. the push to ratify the suffrage amendment was coming to a close. suffrage leaders had eight states to choose from, and they thought tennessee was the best bet, and they had a lot of supporters and a lot of people who were extremely hostile. it is not dated but it has a postmark of august 17, 1920. the vote was august 20, just a short time later. the state senate had approved the ratification, it was like 25 to four. the governor was for
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atification. a couple of people changing positions could really tip the balance. harry was 24, he was studying law, he was just getting his start in life. his mother was a widow. e had a mother, brother, and ister back in tennessee. that's where their home was. he was a newbie in the state legislature and had to deal with this complicated question. he was reading law with a man who was coming out as extremely anti-suffrage and he was unwilling to take a stand. they thought he was maybe going to vote no. he got this six page letter from is mother in 1920 and it was a letter handwritten on a tablet
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with six pages handwritten in pencil. in the course of the letter, it wasn't just about politics, it wasn't just to ask him to vote for suffrage, but in the course of the letter, she twice asked him to vote for suffrage. i like this passage where she says hooray and vote for suffrage and don't leave them in doubt stop i noticed chandler's speech. it was very that are. i've been watching to see how ou stood but have not seen anything yet. he was also in the legislature. so he was kind of in a pickle of a situation. when he came into the vote, there was a lot of parliamentary maneuvering the day the final vote took place. he voted in a way that looked like he was going to be a no vote until the final vote was taken and it was going to be a close loss or tie. they really didn't know until he
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voted yes. when he voted yes, they got really hopeful and there was one other vote at the end of the alphabet they had to get and when he voted yes, it was pandemonium in the legislature. i like this part in the letter ere. toward the end of the letter, she said don't forget to be a good boy and help misses thomas cat with the rats. is she the one that put the rat in ratification. this was a cartoon going around at the time. it was the leader of the people pushing for suffrage. the cartoon they were putting round the country, she had a broom chasing the rat that was separated from the rest of the word ratification. this was a sweet letter. it had been destroyed because it
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was so folksy that they thought people said they destroyed it because it wasn't really a formal letter written in ink. proper and all that. harry burns' son wanted this letter to be put here. a lot of people said it was never written. the 75th anniversary of suffrage came around and people focused on tennessee, we were able to bring it out and show people yes, it did exist. e was right in the center of the storm. >> c-span cities tour travels across the country exploring the american story with the support of local cable providers, we bring you the history and literary life of a different city on book tv and american history tv.
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to watch videos of any of the places we have been, go to c-pan.org/cities tour and follow us on twitter at c-span ities. >> c-span's washington journal. every day we're taking your calls live on the air, on the news of the day and we'll discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, a preview of the start of tonight's democratic national a ention and jeff cohen, group that supported bernie sanders in the primaries and en benjamin russell on the youth vote and support of joe biden. watch complete coverage of the democratic convention live or on demand and find the latest convention schedule information at c-span.org/dnc.
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so our email news letter announces a synopsis of the day's event. >> house speaker nancy pelosi releasing this statement on the status of the postal service due to what she calls the devastating effects of the president to sabotage the election, i am calling on the house to return later this week to vote on the delivering for america act which proicts the postal service from implementing any changes to operationsor or level of service it had on january 1, 2020. she said the schedule would be announced soon. >> during the summer months reach out to your elected officials with c-span's

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