O estado onde as mulheres votaram muito antes da 19ª emenda

O estado onde as mulheres votaram muito antes da 19ª emenda

Quando o Secretário de Estado Bainbridge Colby afixou sua assinatura à 19ª Emenda em 26 de agosto de 1920, as mulheres dos Estados Unidos ganharam o direito de voto. A nova emenda constitucional, no entanto, não trouxe nenhuma mudança para uma região do país onde as mulheres vinham votando por décadas, muitas vezes considerada como um bastião da masculinidade rude e “sem lugar para uma mulher” - o Velho Oeste.

Embora o direito das mulheres de votar não tenha sido especificamente consagrado na Constituição dos EUA antes da 19ª Emenda, também não tinha sido proibido. Por exemplo, mulheres solteiras que possuíam propriedades “no valor de cinquenta libras” puderam votar em Nova Jersey entre 1776 e 1807, antes que o direito fosse restrito aos homens brancos. Em 1838, Kentucky permitiu que viúvas com filhos em idade escolar votassem nas eleições escolares, e Kansas o seguiu em 1861.

LEIA MAIS: O movimento pelo sufrágio feminino começou com uma festa de chá

O sufrágio feminino, no entanto, ainda era quase inexistente quando, em 1869, William Bright, um taberneiro e presidente da câmara alta do Território de Wyoming, apresentou um projeto de lei garantindo a todas as residentes do sexo feminino com 21 anos ou mais o direito de voto. De acordo com a Sociedade Histórica do Estado de Wyoming, a legislatura territorial já havia aprovado medidas progressivas garantindo às professoras os mesmos salários que os homens e concedendo às mulheres casadas direitos de propriedade além de seus maridos. A medida de Bright apoiando o sufrágio universal das mulheres, no entanto, seria inovadora nos Estados Unidos.

O projeto foi aprovado em ambas as casas da legislatura exclusivamente masculina e foi sancionado em 10 de dezembro de 1869 pelo governador republicano John Campbell. Em setembro seguinte, Louisa Swain, de 69 anos, descrita por um jornal local como “uma gentil dona de casa de cabelos brancos”, foi a primeira mulher a votar segundo a lei em sua cidade de Laramie, Wyoming. Não houve protesto. “Havia muito bom senso em nossa comunidade para que qualquer zombaria ou escárnio pudesse ser vista em tal ocasião”, relatou o Laramie Sentinel. A nova lei também permitiu que as mulheres participassem de júris e ocupassem cargos públicos. Esther Morris se tornou a primeira juíza de paz do Wyoming em 1870, e ela julgou mais de 40 casos durante seu mandato.

Por que esse território escassamente povoado nas bordas acidentadas da fronteira estava na vanguarda dos direitos das mulheres? Enquanto Bright e outros acreditavam em ideais de igualdade de gênero, a Sociedade Histórica do Estado de Wyoming afirma que havia outros fatores também.

Em um território onde os homens superavam as mulheres em uma proporção de 6 para 1, alguns esperavam que a publicidade da medida pudesse atrair mulheres solteiras ao Wyoming para retificar o desequilíbrio de gênero, bem como ajudá-lo a atingir o limite populacional necessário para se candidatar à condição de Estado. A política também desempenhou um papel, já que alguns legisladores democratas esperavam que o projeto colocasse o governador republicano em uma situação difícil. Se Campbell, cujo partido defendia os direitos de voto dos afro-americanos, vetasse a medida, ele pareceria hipócrita. Se fosse aprovada, os democratas achavam que as eleitoras as recompensariam por introduzir a medida.

LEIA MAIS: Mulheres que lutaram pelo voto

Para desgosto desses democratas, no entanto, os republicanos ganharam cadeiras na legislatura territorial e ganharam a votação para representante territorial no Congresso nos dois anos após Campbell ter assinado a lei. Culpando os eleitores recém-emancipados por suas derrotas, os democratas aprovaram um projeto de lei para proibir o sufrágio feminino, mas ficaram a um voto de anular o veto de Campbell.

“Wyoming é o primeiro lugar na terra verde de Deus que poderia consistentemente reivindicar ser a terra dos livres!” declarou a líder do sufrágio feminino, Susan B. Anthony. O território vizinho de Utah rapidamente seguiu o exemplo de Wyoming ao aprovar o sufrágio feminino em fevereiro de 1870. Os territórios ocidentais de Washington e Montana aprovaram medidas semelhantes na década de 1880.

Quando Wyoming se tornou um Estado duas décadas após sua votação histórica, os cidadãos do território aprovaram uma constituição que mantinha o direito das mulheres de votar. Quando o Congresso ameaçou manter Wyoming fora da União se não rescindisse a disposição, o território se recusou a ceder. “Ficaremos cem anos fora da União, em vez de entrarmos sem as mulheres”, declarou a legislatura territorial em telegrama aos dirigentes parlamentares. O Congresso cedeu e Wyoming se tornou o primeiro estado a conceder às mulheres o direito de votar quando se tornou o 44º estado do país em 1890.

O Ocidente continuou a ser a região mais progressista do país no sufrágio feminino completo. O Colorado o aprovou em 1893 e Idaho fez o mesmo três anos depois. O Congresso havia retirado os direitos das mulheres juntamente com a proibição da poligamia em Utah em 1887, mas as mulheres recuperaram o direito de votar quando o território se tornou um estado em 1896. Depois de 1910, eles se juntaram a Washington, Califórnia, Arizona, Kansas, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Dakota do Sul e o território do Alasca. (Mesmo antes da aprovação da 19ª Emenda, Montana elegeu uma mulher, Jeannette Rankin, para a Câmara dos Representantes dos EUA em 1916.) De acordo com o National Constitution Center, em 1919 havia 15 estados nos quais as mulheres tinham plenos direitos de voto, e apenas dois deles estavam a leste do rio Mississippi. Os doze estados que restringiram as mulheres de votar em qualquer eleição foram principalmente no Sul e no Leste.

Mesmo após a adoção da 19ª Emenda, Wyoming continuou a abrir caminho para as mulheres na política quando Nellie Tayloe Ross foi eleita a primeira governadora do país em 1924. Por seu papel pioneiro, Wyoming adotou o apelido de "Estado de Igualdade", e seu lema é "Direitos iguais".

LEIA MAIS: 19ª Emenda: Um cronograma da luta pelo direito de todas as mulheres ao voto


O estado onde as mulheres votaram muito antes da 19ª emenda - HISTÓRIA

Ninguém sabe se Nova Jersey pretendia fazer isso. Mais tarde, porém, os signatários da constituição estadual deixaram claro que pretendiam mantê-la.

No verão de 1776, as colônias estavam prestes a declarar coletivamente a independência, e o Congresso Provincial de Trenton estava com pressa para escrever uma constituição estadual. Os autores do estado escreveram e aprovaram em apenas cinco dias.

No documento, onde explica as regras para funcionários eleitos, o governador é referido como "ele" cada membro da assembleia, "ele" o xerife de cada condado e seus legistas, um "ele".

Mas por alguma razão, quando descreve as regras para o eleitorado, diz “eles”. Todos os habitantes que valem pelo menos 50 libras e que moram em Nova Jersey há um ano, “eles” têm o direito de votar.

Uma gravura de 1880 por Howard Pyle na Harper’s Weekly é intitulada "Mulheres nas pesquisas em Nova Jersey nos bons e velhos tempos." Pesquisadores encontraram recentemente evidências em registros de pesquisas de que as mulheres votaram em Nova Jersey no final dos anos 1700 e início dos anos 1800. (Museu da Revolução Americana)

E é assim que, nas primeiras três décadas da independência americana, era legal para algumas mulheres de Nova Jersey votar, mais de um século antes da aprovação da 19ª Emenda.

Mesmo que tenha começado como uma brecha acidental, um estatuto de 1790 esclareceu que "eles" significava "ele ou ela" em sete condados de Nova Jersey com grandes populações quacres. Em 1797, outro estatuto expandiu o sufrágio feminino desses condados para todo o estado.

Durante décadas, houve principalmente evidências anedóticas de que qualquer mulher realmente usava esse direito - relatos de jornais reclamando sobre o voto feminino e uma cópia de uma lista de votação com dois nomes que poderiam ser nomes de mulheres ou nomes de homens transcritos incorretamente.

“Este é o tipo de trabalho de detetive que os historiadores amam, porque é uma história não contada”, disse Philip Mead, historiador-chefe do Museu da Revolução Americana na Filadélfia.

A partir de 2018, a equipe do museu liderada pela curadora Marcela Micucci vasculhou os Arquivos do Estado de Nova Jersey, sociedades históricas locais e outras instituições culturais em busca de evidências mais sólidas.

Após meses de busca, eles encontraram resultados positivos.

“Encontramos uma lista de pesquisas ... de uma eleição em Montgomery Township, Condado de Somerset, em outubro de 1801. Havia 343 eleitores nessa lista e 46 deles eram mulheres”, disse Micucci ao The Washington Post. “Eu invadi o escritório [de Mead], a lista impressa em minhas mãos, pulando para cima e para baixo. Foi muito emocionante. ”

Desde então, os pesquisadores do museu encontraram mais 18 listas de pesquisas, variando de 1797 a 1807, nove das quais contêm nomes de mulheres. No total, eles identificaram 163 mulheres que votaram.

“Não se tratava apenas de algumas mulheres, mas de um número bastante significativo de mulheres”, disse Micucci.

Philip Mead, historiador-chefe do Museu da Revolução Americana, e curadora Marcela Micucci lideraram a pesquisa que encontrou nomes de mulheres & # x27s nas listas de votação de Nova Jersey, como esta de 1801. (Museu da Revolução Americana)

Os nomes das mulheres costumam aparecer juntos, indicando que elas chegaram às urnas em grupos, talvez para sua própria proteção, disse Mead.

“Isso por si só, eu acho, é uma expressão de bravura”, disse ele.

Houve limitações. Na época, as mulheres casadas geralmente não tinham direitos de propriedade - a propriedade da mulher ia para o marido após o casamento - o que significa que apenas mulheres solteiras e viúvas podiam cumprir o requisito de propriedade para votar.

Mas havia também outro benefício surpreendente - que "eles" na constituição do estado não eram apenas neutros em termos de gênero, mas também neutros em relação à raça. A equipe do museu encontrou evidências de que pelo menos um homem negro livre votou legalmente em 1801. E embora seja teoricamente possível que mulheres negras livres também tenham votado, a equipe ainda não provou que isso aconteceu. Já é difícil rastrear mulheres brancas no registro histórico, explicou Micucci, e ainda mais mulheres negras. É possível que haja uma mulher negra entre os 163 nomes já encontrados, e os pesquisadores simplesmente não conseguiram encontrar informações biográficas sobre ela em outros registros existentes ainda.

E embora os pesquisadores saibam agora que o voto feminino era generalizado, a equipe não encontrou evidências de qualquer tipo de movimento de proto-sufrágio organizado na era colonial, disse Mead.

Isso não significa que passou despercebido na jovem nação.

Nelly Custis, a enteada de George Washington, certa vez foi descrita por John Adams como tendo “pulado em um cavalo e galopado para o local de votação exigindo o voto” como dona de uma propriedade, disse Mead.

Em uma carta de 1797 para sua irmã, a então primeira-dama Abigail Adams pediu-lhe que dissesse a um candidato derrotado em uma disputa local que se a constituição do estado de Massachusetts “tivesse sido igualmente liberal com a de Nova Jersey e admitido as mulheres a votar, eu certamente deveria tê-lo exercido em seu nome. ”

E há, é claro, a famosa carta de Abigail para seu marido em 1776, instando-o a "lembrar-se das mulheres" enquanto ele e os outros fundadores deliberavam sobre a independência.

Ambas as cartas, junto com as listas de pesquisas descobertas, serão incluídas em uma nova exibição no museu chamada “Quando as mulheres perderam o voto: uma história revolucionária 1776-1807”. Originalmente programado para ser inaugurado em agosto, ele foi adiado até outubro por causa da pandemia.

O nome de uma mulher aparece em uma lista de pesquisas de 1801 Montgomery Township, N.J., dos Arquivos do Estado de New Jersey. (Museu da Revolução Americana)

Então, como as mulheres de Nova Jersey perderam o voto?

Da maneira mais americana - no altar da política partidária.

Quando Washington deixou o cargo em 1797, as lutas entre os partidos políticos nascentes - os federalistas e os republicanos democratas - estavam se tornando tão amargas que o primeiro presidente passou grande parte de seu discurso de despedida alertando contra eles.

A situação piorou na década seguinte e, com isso, aumentaram as acusações de fraude eleitoral. Em 1802, os líderes políticos do condado de Hunterdon instaram a legislatura de Nova Jersey a anular uma eleição local, alegando que algumas pessoas nas listas de pesquisas eram residentes da Filadélfia, imigrantes, escravos e, em particular, mulheres casadas, disse Micucci.

Em 1806, no condado de Essex, mulheres e pessoas de cor foram culpadas novamente quando mais votos foram misteriosamente lançados do que eleitores elegíveis.

“Este foi um momento, em 1807, em que os americanos tinham sérias dúvidas sobre sua democracia”, disse Mead. “Acho que [os legisladores] estavam procurando uma grande ação que eles pudessem tomar para restaurar a confiança no sistema de votação, e eles grosseiramente usaram como bodes expiatórios mulheres, pessoas de cor, imigrantes.”

A lei foi alterada para remover a exigência de propriedade e limitar a franquia apenas aos homens brancos.

“E, claro, isso não era uma solução. Os problemas de votação continuaram ”, disse Mead.

Oito anos depois, na vizinha Nova York, nasceu uma mulher chamada Elizabeth Cady. Ela cresceu e se tornou uma ativista, casou-se com o colega abolicionista Henry Stanton e, em 1848, se reuniu com outros defensores dos direitos das mulheres em Seneca Falls, onde apresentou um rascunho da Declaração de Sentimentos.

Em 1880, Elizabeth Cady Stanton morava em Nova Jersey e, como tinha de pagar impostos lá, decidiu que tentaria votar. Ela foi ao local de votação vestida com seu “traje de domingo”, contou ela, com sua amiga Susan B. Anthony, que estava “sempre pronta para fazer uma escapadela na urna”.

Criado por Adelaide Johnson, um monumento de mármore às sufragistas Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton e Susan B. Anthony fica na Rotunda do Capitólio dos EUA. (Fritz Hahn / The Washington Post)

O inspetor se recusou a dar a ela uma cédula, explicando que não havia precedente para uma mulher votar.

Pelo contrário, ela disse a ele: “No solo sagrado de Nova Jersey, onde estamos agora, as mulheres votaram por 31 anos, de 1776 a 1807.”

O inspetor disse que não sabia nada sobre o assunto. Ele nunca tinha lido a constituição do estado.

Sobre esta história

Ilustrações de Bárbara Malagoli para o The Washington Post. Edição de Lynda Robinson. Direção de arte de Amanda Soto. Design e desenvolvimento por Madison Walls. Edição de design por Suzette Moyer. Edição de cópias por Anne Kenderdine. Edição e pesquisa de fotos por Mark Miller.


As mulheres de Utah tinham o direito de votar muito antes das outras - e depois o retiraram

Hoje marca o 150º aniversário dos primeiros votos das mulheres nos Estados Unidos sob uma lei de sufrágio feminino irrestrito. Em 14 de fevereiro de 1870, a professora Seraph Young, de 23 anos, votou nas eleições municipais de Salt Lake City a caminho do trabalho. Ela e cerca de 24 outras mulheres votaram naquele dia e, naquele verão, milhares de mulheres de Utah fizeram o mesmo nas eleições gerais. Um total de 50 anos antes da 19ª Emenda se tornar lei nacional, as mulheres cidadãs de Utah fizeram história como as primeiras a exercer direitos iguais de sufrágio.

Em fevereiro de 1870, a legislatura territorial de Utah aprovou um projeto de lei estendendo os direitos de sufrágio às mulheres. O território de Wyoming promulgou o sufrágio feminino em dezembro de 1869, mas por causa do momento das eleições, as mulheres em Utah foram as primeiras a ir às urnas. Algumas mulheres americanas tinham podido votar anteriormente em circunstâncias limitadas - mulheres com propriedades (solteiras) votaram em Nova Jersey até que elas e os homens negros fossem privados de seus direitos em 1807. Depois disso, alguns estados como Kentucky e Kansas tinham permitiu que certas mulheres votassem no conselho escolar ou em outras eleições locais. Mas os territórios de Wyoming e Utah foram os primeiros a estender os direitos de voto às mulheres em todas as eleições sem restrições de propriedade. (Ainda assim, as leis de cidadania discriminatórias excluíam os nativos americanos e outras mulheres de cor.) Significativamente, enquanto as Utahns fizeram história como as primeiras mulheres votantes com igual sufrágio, elas foram posteriormente privadas de direitos como parte dos esforços do governo federal para acabar com a prática da poligamia.

Esta história revela uma verdade histórica esquecida em muitas celebrações do centenário da 19ª Emenda - que o movimento sufragista foi um longo trabalho árduo com contratempos, divisões e erros ao longo do caminho. A história do sufrágio não foi uma progressão linear. Os direitos de voto das mulheres não se expandiram uniformemente para as mulheres de cor. Nem se expandiram permanentemente: a história e os eventos atuais mostram que os direitos de voto são difíceis de proteger e manter.

Desde o início, em 1870, os direitos de voto das mulheres de Utah estavam emaranhados na controvérsia nacional sobre a prática da poligamia entre os membros da Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias. A igreja acreditava que a poligamia - casamento plural - era baseada na revelação divina e argumentava que a poligamia era um sistema social e religioso superior. Mas os oponentes argumentaram que a poligamia era opressora e degradante para as mulheres e que ameaçava o princípio da liberdade individual no cerne da república americana.

Após a Guerra Civil, o Congresso voltou sua atenção para a “Questão Mórmon”. A plataforma republicana de 1856 pedia a erradicação da poligamia e da escravidão, as “relíquias gêmeas da barbárie”, nos territórios. A legislação federal anti-poligamia anterior não havia sido aplicada, e a conclusão da Ferrovia Transcontinental e a atenção crescente para o Ocidente fizeram com que fosse hora de terminar o trabalho.

Algumas sufragistas viram uma brecha e sugeriram que emancipar as mulheres de Utah pode ser a melhor maneira de acabar com a poligamia. Se as mulheres pudessem votar, talvez pudessem se livrar da prática. Na verdade, a Associação Nacional de Sufrágio Feminino de Susan B. Anthony (NWSA) instou o Congresso a promulgar uma lei de sufrágio feminino para Utah "como o meio seguro, seguro e rápido de abolir a poligamia daquele Território." Foi também uma forma de experimentar os direitos de voto das mulheres em um território distante do oeste.

Os projetos de lei estagnaram no Congresso, mas os próprios Utahns retomaram a conversa sobre o direito de voto das mulheres, com uma reviravolta. O Deseret News, de propriedade da igreja, editorializou: “Se o desejo é tentar a experiência de dar às mulheres o direito de votar na República, não conhecemos nenhum lugar onde a experiência possa ser tentada com tanta segurança como neste Território. Nossas senhoras podem provar ao mundo que ... as mulheres podem ser emancipadas sem correr soltas ou se tornar assexuadas. ”

As mulheres de Utah dariam um exemplo ao mundo em mais uma frente se ganhassem o voto. Com alguma agitação estratégica das principais mulheres santos dos últimos dias para se posicionarem como parceiras políticas de confiança e uma lei anti-poligamia sendo aprovada no Congresso, a legislatura territorial de Utah aprovou por unanimidade uma lei em fevereiro de 1870 estendendo os direitos de voto às mulheres.

Naquela época, o território de Wyoming era o único lugar com uma lei de sufrágio feminino semelhante nos livros, mas a população feminina de Wyoming era um décimo do tamanho de Utah. Assim, na década seguinte, as mulheres de Utah foram a única população significativa de eleitoras. Suas cédulas imediatamente atraíram a atenção e o escrutínio nacional. Quando Anthony e Elizabeth Cady Stanton os visitaram em 1871, eles exortaram as mulheres de Utah a “usarem a cédula para seu próprio bem” e “se livrarem” da poligamia.

Os reformadores nacionais assistiram com esperança, mas logo ficou claro que as mulheres não votavam contra os líderes da Igreja. Então, os antipoligâmicos passaram a ver o sufrágio feminino de Utah como um fator defendendo poligamia. Eles argumentaram que essas mulheres deveriam ser removidas do eleitorado, então fizeram lobby no Congresso para revogar os direitos de voto das mulheres de Utah e moveram ações judiciais para tentar invalidar a lei de sufrágio de Utah.

As mulheres santos dos últimos dias em Utah lutaram para evitar sua privação de direitos por mais de uma década. Eles se mobilizaram para falar em um cenário nacional e começaram um dos jornais femininos mais antigos, o Woman’s Exponent, em 1872. Em sua primeira edição, o expoente declarou: "É melhor representar a nós mesmos do que ser mal representado por outros!" As mulheres santos dos últimos dias usaram a rede da Sociedade de Socorro, a organização feminina da igreja, para organizar reuniões de protesto, fazer petições a autoridades federais e fazer lobby com legisladores em Washington. Esse engajamento político foi duplamente transgressivo, apoiando duas práticas - poligamia e sufrágio feminino - muito em desacordo com a cultura americana do século XIX. Fez um respingo.

Prenunciando o debate sobre o sufrágio que ocorreria no início do século 20, as mulheres santos dos últimos dias em Utah defenderam seus direitos políticos defendendo sua experiência como eleitoras. Eles rebateram as alegações de que estavam votando apenas conforme as instruções de seus maridos, que votar comprometia sua capacidade de cumprir seus deveres domésticos e que eram muito estúpidas, emocionais ou sofreram lavagem cerebral para votar de maneira adequada. Em vez disso, eles argumentaram, como nesta petição de 1878 ao Congresso: “Nós exercemos a cédula com nossa própria vontade e escolha, tendo demonstrado plenamente que as mulheres honradas merecem tanto respeito nas urnas quanto na sala de estar, na sala de visitas , e a Igreja. ”

Mas sua presença causou tensão no movimento sufragista. Líderes sufragistas inicialmente não sabiam o que fazer com mulheres poligâmicas que votavam, e a maioria da American Woman Suffrage Association recusou-se a trabalhar com elas ou defender seus direitos de voto. Portanto, as sufragistas dos santos dos últimos dias forjaram um relacionamento mutuamente benéfico com a NWSA mais radical. Eles reuniram mais assinaturas de petições do que de qualquer outro estado ou território em apoio a uma emenda constitucional para o sufrágio feminino e conseguiram um convite para a convenção da NWSA em 1879.

As mulheres santos dos últimos dias tornaram-se parte integrante dessas convenções, sentando-se de maneira proeminente, tendo a plataforma para falar e sendo destacadas como atores políticos legítimos. A NWSA nunca endossou a poligamia, mas levantou uma voz bem-vinda contra as tentativas do Congresso de privar as mulheres polígamas.

Mas em 1887, a campanha contra a poligamia havia vencido. A Lei Edmunds-Tucker aprovada pelo Congresso desincorporou a igreja, mudou as leis de casamento e herança e revogou tudo Direitos de voto das mulheres de Utah.

As sufragistas dos santos dos últimos dias organizadas em 1889 sob a NWSA para reconquistar o sufrágio. A poligamia nunca desapareceu totalmente como um problema no movimento sufragista, mas tornou-se menos uma cunha divisória depois que a igreja anunciou o fim oficial da prática em 1890. A Woman Suffrage Association of Utah logo tinha milhares de membros em todo o território que faziam palestras sobre direitos iguais, salários iguais e outras questões políticas, escreveu colunas em jornais locais, promoveu eventos e trabalhou para conseguir que uma cláusula de igualdade de sufrágio fosse incluída na constituição de Utah quando este se tornasse um estado. Em tudo isso, eles tiveram amplo apoio da comunidade local e dos líderes da igreja.

Dessas e de outras maneiras, as mulheres de Utah abriram caminho para o movimento sufragista feminino mais amplo nos Estados Unidos. Quando Utah se juntou à União em 1896 e restabeleceu os direitos de voto das mulheres, havia apenas dois outros estados de sufrágio - Wyoming e Colorado. (Idaho aprovou uma emenda constitucional no final daquele ano.) Levaria 14 anos para o próximo estado se juntar a eles. Embora as organizações de sufrágio nacional fossem lideradas por Nova York e Washington, as mulheres ocidentais reuniram petições, levantaram fundos, falaram e mostraram que o céu não caiu quando as mulheres votaram. Eles pressionaram seus congressistas eleitos, que saudaram desfiles de sufrágio nos degraus do Capitólio dos Estados Unidos, falaram em comícios e continuaram avançando lentamente com a Emenda "Susan B. Anthony".

As mulheres ocidentais ganharam décadas de experiência como eleitoras e funcionárias públicas eleitas antes que a maioria das mulheres americanas (brancas) fosse às urnas pela primeira vez em 1920. As mulheres votantes frequentemente testemunhavam perante os comitês do Congresso sobre o "funcionamento prático do sufrágio feminino". Eles mostraram que, ao contrário dos argumentos dos anti-sufragistas, o voto não os degradou, os tornou masculinos ou os fez negligenciar o lar e a família. Em vez disso, como a primeira senadora estadual do país, Martha Hughes Cannon, testemunhou em 1898, a experiência das mulheres em Utah mostrou que "nenhum dos resultados desagradáveis ​​que foram previstos ocorreu."

Ao revisitarmos a história do sufrágio este ano, vamos lembrar as mulheres no oeste que votaram primeiro e abriram o caminho.


A longa e difícil batalha pela 19ª emenda e o direito das mulheres de votar

Às vezes, parece que os Estados Unidos, como sociedade, deram grandes passos na luta contínua pela igualdade de gênero. E às vezes a realidade mostra sua cara feia e você percebe, bem, o país ainda tem um longo caminho pela frente. A verdade é que as mulheres continuam a lutar todos os dias por direitos iguais, e não faz muito tempo que a população feminina (cerca de metade dos Estados Unidos) foi proibida de participar da política - até que a 19ª Emenda mudou isso.

Aprovada pelo Congresso em 4 de junho de 1919 e ratificada em 18 de agosto de 1920, a 19ª Emenda finalmente concedeu às mulheres o direito de votar na América. & quotA 19ª Emenda impediu os estados de limitar o direito de voto com base no sexo & quot, diz Allison K. Lange, Ph.D., professora assistente de história do Instituto de Tecnologia Wentworth de Boston e autora do próximo artigo & quotPicturing Political Power: Images in the Women's Movimento do sufrágio. & Quot & quotAs mulheres começaram a votar no Wyoming em 1869 e ganharam a votação em outros estados anos depois. Eles também podiam votar nas eleições municipais locais ou nas eleições do conselho escolar antes da 19ª Emenda. Mesmo assim, a 19ª Emenda foi revolucionária porque concedeu direitos a mais pessoas do que qualquer outra lei na história dos Estados Unidos. & Quot

Convenção de Seneca Falls de 1848

Muito antes de estourar a Guerra Civil, muitas mulheres estavam começando a resistir à ideia de que seu papel era nada mais do que uma esposa e mãe submissa lidando com sua casa e família. Ao mesmo tempo, as mulheres desempenhavam papéis de liderança em grupos reformistas, movimentos religiosos e organizações antiescravistas. Todas essas ações ajudaram a redefinir o que significava ser mulher nos Estados Unidos do século XIX.

Mas isso foi apenas o começo de uma batalha pela participação política feminina que não foi vencida com rapidez ou facilidade. A primeira proposta real para a ideia do sufrágio feminino como uma meta começou na Convenção de Seneca Falls, a primeira convenção dos direitos das mulheres nos Estados Unidos. Foi realizada em julho de 1848 em Seneca Falls, Nova York. Mais de 300 pessoas - homens e mulheres - compareceram, incluindo o abolicionista afro-americano Frederick Douglass e a importante defensora dos direitos das mulheres, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, uma das organizadoras da reunião. Ela deu início ao evento com um discurso empolgante:

Os delegados escreveram uma & quotDeclaration of Sentiments & quot descrevendo as queixas e exigências das mulheres e apelaram às mulheres para lutarem pela igualdade. A convenção aprovou uma lista de 11 resoluções, incluindo uma nona resolução que encorajava as mulheres & quot a assegurarem seu sagrado direito à franquia eletiva & quot - seu direito de voto. Foi de longe o mais polêmico - até mesmo levando muitos defensores dos direitos das mulheres a retirarem seu apoio - e mal foi aprovado. Mas também se tornou a base do movimento sufragista feminino daqui para frente.

O que aconteceu depois das quedas de Seneca

Nos anos seguintes, mulheres de todas as idades começaram a escrever sobre, marchar e praticar a desobediência civil - mesmo referindo-se à Declaração de Sentimentos - em um esforço para mudar a Constituição, que originalmente permitia apenas proprietários de terras, homens brancos, com 21 e mais velhos para votar.

Na época em que os EUA entraram na Primeira Guerra Mundial em 1917, a National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) estava bem estabelecida. Foi formada em 1890 pelas sufragistas Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Susan B. Anthony, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Rachel Foster e Elizabeth Cady Stanton quando a National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) e a American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) se fundiram.

Os membros encorajaram os defensores dos direitos das mulheres a se juntarem ao esforço de guerra e argumentaram que as mulheres mereciam votar porque sua experiência e vozes eram críticas na conversa política. O trabalho da NAWSA, somado aos protestos do National Woman's Party (NWP), gerou amplo interesse e luta pelo sufrágio feminino.

& quot'Suffrage 'era um termo popular no século 19 e significa o direito de votar, & quot Lange diz. & quotOs americanos discutiram o sufrágio masculino, o sufrágio feminino, o sufrágio negro, etc. Hoje, as pessoas costumam associar o termo ao movimento pelo direito ao voto das mulheres. & quot

A 19ª Emenda foi apresentada pela primeira vez no Congresso em 1878, mas levou mais de 40 anos de organização, petição, piquetes e muito mais para finalmente ratificá-la. Ao longo das décadas, diferentes estratégias foram empregadas para tentar fazer com que a emenda fosse aprovada. Alguns tentaram aprovar atos de sufrágio em cada estado individual. A tática funcionou até certo ponto: em 1912, nove estados ocidentais adotaram o sufrágio feminino.

Outros defensores foram aos tribunais para desafiar as leis de votação exclusivamente masculinas, e algumas sufragistas organizaram e participaram de paradas, greves de fome e vigílias silenciosas. Independentemente do tipo de ação que esses apoiadores tomaram, essas mulheres quase invariavelmente encontraram inúmeras formas de abuso verbal e até físico.

Em 1916, quase todas as principais organizações de sufrágio formaram uma frente única para aprovar uma emenda constitucional. Nova York adotou oficialmente o sufrágio feminino em 1917 e um ano depois, o presidente Woodrow Wilson mudou sua posição original sobre o assunto e declarou apoio à emenda.

Finalmente, em 21 de maio de 1919, a Câmara dos Representantes aprovou a emenda, e o Senado a seguiu duas semanas depois. Em 1920, o Tennessee se tornou o 36º estado a ratificar a emenda - com três quartos dos estados em acordo, os EUA finalmente puderam adotar oficialmente a nova política. A 19ª Emenda declara: & quotO direito dos cidadãos dos Estados Unidos de votar não deve ser negado ou abreviado pelos Estados Unidos ou por qualquer Estado devido ao sexo. & Quot

Mas as mulheres ainda precisavam lutar para votar

Por mais impactante que tenha sido a 19ª Emenda, ela não encerrou a luta pela representação política feminina. “É importante ter em mente que a 19ª Emenda não concedeu a todas as mulheres o direito de voto”, diz Lange. “Muitas mulheres mais pobres e negras ainda estavam sujeitas a poll tax, testes de alfabetização e outras leis restritivas. As mulheres americanas ganharam maior acesso às urnas por meio de outras leis, como a Lei de Cidadania Indiana de 1924, a revogação da Lei de Exclusão Chinesa em 1943 e a Lei de Direitos de Voto de 1965. Porto Rico concedeu às mulheres o direito de voto em 1929. Portanto, a 19ª Emenda abriu oportunidades, mas muitas mulheres ainda tiveram que lutar pelo voto. & quot

Embora o movimento sufragista não tenha acabado com o sexismo na sociedade, seus participantes e líderes deixaram legados duradouros. "Minha pesquisa examina as maneiras como as mulheres usaram fotos para persuadir os americanos a apoiar os direitos das mulheres", diz Lange. "Some of the women who did this most effectively were Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Church Terrell and Alice Paul. All of them challenged popular cartoons that mocked suffragists as manly monsters who threatened American values and gender roles."

Lange's research has turned up countless tales of how these women, in particular, upheld, strengthened and propelled the suffrage movement.

"In the 1860s, Sojourner Truth sold her portrait to support herself and emphasize that black women were respectable, hard-working people who deserved freedom from enslavement and rights," Lange says. In the 1870s and 1880s, Susan B. Anthony also became an icon of the movement, offering supporters an image of what female political leaders could look like.

"In the 1890s, Mary Church Terrell, first president of the National Association of Colored Women, responded by distributing her own images of highly educated, elegant black women to win respect for the reforms she sought."

Lang also says in the 1910s, Alice Paul used new image technology that allowed her to reproduce photos from the newspapers. She staged parades and the first-ever pickets of the White House to get attention and win support for the cause (see more in the sidebar below). These kinds of photos of women in such visible, political spaces proved to be very newsworthy, and convinced Americans of the suffragists' dedication to the cause.


ST. CLOUD WOMEN GOT THE VOTE 2 YEARS BEFORE 19TH AMENDMENT PASSED

Florida's elections season prompts a look back at St. Cloud's role in women's suffrage.

In late August 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote nationwide. Forty-nine years later, the Florida Legislature ratified the amendment.

That doesn't mean Florida women did not get to vote during that long stretch.

The Florida Historical Society documents that women became voters in city elections as early as 1917 in Florence Villa, Moore Haven, Palm Beach and Pass-a-Grille.

Women's suffrage came to St. Cloud in 1918, writes Alma Hetherington in The River of the Long Water. She quotes from the Sept. 28, 1918, issue of the St. Cloud Tribune, the newspaper founded by the Union veterans who had started the city only a decade earlier.

The newspaper's banner headline read, "St. Cloud is proud this day to say: Our women have the vote."

The article added, "The amendment to the city charter of St. Cloud permitting women to vote was adopted by a vote of 179 to 82 in the city election held on Tuesday. . . . This will mean an additional list of voters totaling about 500."

Sparsely populated Wyoming was the first territory to allow women to vote, partly to gain enough "citizens" for statehood.

Historians say the women's suffrage movement started in the West and spread to the East, taking a longer time to gain acceptance in the South.

The women's suffrage movement began in Florida with Eleanor "Ella" McWilliams Chamberlain in Tampa. In 1893, Chamberlain began organizing women to demand the right to vote.

When she approached a weekly newspaper about writing a column, the editor of The Tampa Journal suggested she limited her topics to children and "women's interests."

She responded, "The world was not suffering for another cake recipe, and the children seemed to be getting along better than the women."

Instead, she used her column to lobby for women's rights. Eight men and a dozen women joined her in the Florida Woman Suffrage Association in 1893.

She represented Florida at a national women's rights convention in Washington, D.C., later that year and again in Atlanta in 1895, the same year she led a state convention in Tampa that drew 100 members.

Charlton W. Tebeau writes in A History of Florida that the movement "collapsed when she [Chamberlain] moved away in 1897 and remained dormant until 1912 when it was revived in Jacksonville" where women who owned land demanded the right to vote on sewer bonds.

They were denied the vote, but their demands drew statewide attention. The Legislature took notice, but not action.

Women took up the temperance movement and other social reforms in the early 1900s.

They would help win passage of Prohibition with the 18th Amendment in 1919.

Mary Mann Jennings, wife of William Jennings, Florida's governor from 1901 until 1905, lobbied Florida lawmakers in 1919 for the three-fifths vote necessary to give women the right to vote statewide.

She was the president of the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs and the most influential women in the state, but she could not win the vote.

Tennessee would be the 35th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, the last of the required three-quarters of the states needed.

With the adoption of national women's suffrage without Florida in 1920, the next session of the Legislature "saw no need to get on the bandwagon," Tebeau writes.

The first statewide election in which women could cast votes came in the fall of 1920. The men won landslide victories over women.

Eight years later, Florida voters elected the state's first woman to the state Legislature and Congress.

Edna Giles Fuller of Orlando won election to the state House of Representatives in 1928, and Ruth Bryan Owen of Miami won her race for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Florida lawmakers didn't get around to the token gesture of ratifying the 19th amendment until 1969.

St. Cloud in pictures. Bob Fisk, who has spent a great deal of his life assembling a collection of hundreds of old photographs of St. Cloud, worked with Jim Robison on a pictorial history book titled St. Cloud, which will be published in October as a fund-raiser for the St. Cloud Main Street to encourage restoration and promotion of downtown St. Cloud.


Nineteenth Amendment

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Nineteenth Amendment, amendment (1920) to the Constitution of the United States that officially extended the right to vote to women.

Opposition to woman suffrage in the United States predated the Constitutional Convention (1787), which drafted and adopted the Constitution. The prevailing view within society was that women should be precluded from holding office and voting—indeed, it was generally accepted (among men) that women should be protected from the evils of politics. Still, there was opposition to such patriarchal views from the beginning, as when Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, asked her husband in 1776, as he went to the Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence, to “remember the ladies and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” In the scattered places where women could vote in some types of local elections, they began to lose this right in the late 18th century.

From the founding of the United States, women were almost universally excluded from voting and their voices largely suppressed from the political sphere. Beginning in the early 19th century, as women chafed at these restrictions, the movement for woman suffrage began and was tied in large part to agitation against slavery. In July 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, then the hometown of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Seneca Falls Convention launched the women’s rights movement and also called for woman suffrage. The American Civil War (1861–65) resulted in the end of the institution of slavery, and in its aftermath many women abolitionists put on hold their desire for universal suffrage in favour of ensuring suffrage for newly freed male slaves.

Gradually throughout the second half of the 19th century, certain states and territories extended often limited voting rights to women. Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote in all elections in 1869. But it soon became apparent that an amendment to the federal Constitution would be a preferable plan for suffragists. Two organizations were formed in 1869: the National Woman Suffrage Association, which sought to achieve a federal constitutional amendment that would secure the ballot for women and the American Woman Suffrage Association, which focused on obtaining amendments to that effect in the constitutions of the various states. The two organizations worked together closely and would merge in 1890.

In 1878 a constitutional amendment was introduced in Congress that would enshrine woman suffrage for all elections. It would be reintroduced in every Congress thereafter. In 1890 Wyoming became a state and thus also became the first state whose constitution guaranteed women the right to vote. Over the next decade several other states—all in the western part of the country—joined Wyoming. In 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt ran (unsuccessfully) as a third-party candidate for president, his party became the first national party to adopt a plank supporting a constitutional amendment.

In January 1918, with momentum clearly behind the suffragists—15 states had extended equal voting rights to women, and the amendment was formally supported by both parties and by the president, Woodrow Wilson—the amendment passed with the bare minimum two-thirds support in the House of Representatives, but it failed narrowly in the U.S. Senate. This galvanized the National Woman’s Party, which led a campaign seeking to oust senators who had voted against it.

A subsequent attempt to pass the amendment came in 1919, and this time it passed both chambers with the requisite two-thirds majority—304–89 in the House of Representatives on May 21, and 56–25 in the Senate on June 4. Although the amendment’s fate seemed in doubt, because of opposition throughout much of the South, on August 18, 1920, Tennessee—by one vote—became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, thereby ensuring its adoption. On August 26 the Nineteenth Amendment was proclaimed by the secretary of state as being part of the Constitution of the United States.

The full text of the amendment is:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


The State Where Women Voted Long Before the 19th Amendment - HISTORY

1907-1930: We are a diverse nation, confronting our differences

January 1, 1919
Map: States grant women the right to vote

While seeking to amend the U.S. Constitution, the women’s suffrage movement also waged a state-by-state campaign. The territory of Wyoming was the first to give women the vote in 1869. Other western states and territories followed.

States granting women the right to vote prior to the 19th Amendment:

Wyoming 1890
Colorado 1893
Utah 1896
Idaho 1896
Washington 1910
California 1911
Arizona 1912
Kansas 1912
Oregon 1912
Montana 1914
Nevada 1914
New York 1917
Michigan 1918
Oklahoma 1918
South Dakota 1918

Full Voting Rights before 19th Amendment and before statehood

Territory of Wyoming 1869
Territory of Utah 1870
Territory of Washington 1883
Territory of Montana 1887
Territory of Alaska 1913

Could vote for President prior to the 19th Amendment

Illinois 1913
Nebraska 1917
Ohio 1917
Indiana 1917
North Dakota 1917
Rhode Island 1917
Iowa 1919
Maine 1919
Minnesota 1919
Missouri 1919
Tennessee 1919
Wisconsin 1919

Gained Voting Rights after the passage:

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19th AMENDMENT: First the West, then the rest of the nation

Editor’s note: In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, author Chris Enss shared this excerpt with The Union from her new book “No Place for a Woman: The Struggle for Suffrage in the Wild West,” which is available at the Bookseller in downtown Grass Valley. Visit http://www.chrisenss.com for more information.

On Sept. 6, 1870, 70-year-old housewife Louisa Ann Swain pinned a clean apron over her gray serge dress and marched down the dirt streets of Laramie, Wyoming, to cast one of the first votes for her sex in America.

That momentous event was made possible by a number of women and men over the course of a 90-year period — starting with Abigail Adams. In March 1776, she implored her husband John Adams and other framers of the Constitution to “remember the ladies.”

Years before Mrs. Swain’s vote, the battle for woman suffrage was officially being discussed in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, at the first women’s right convention. It was a time when women were legally recognized as little more than chattel. Social activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the speakers at the convention, made a bold prediction: “The right (of suffrage) is ours. Have it we must. Use it we will. The pens, the tongues, the fortunes, the indomitable wills of many women are pledged to secure this right. The great truth that no just government can be formed without the consent of the governed, we shall echo and re-echo in the ears of the unjust judge, until by continual coming we shall weary him.”

Although the women in New York were organized and determined, no one could have foreseen that the greatest strides in the suffrage movement would not be realized east of the Hudson River, but west of the Mississippi. And before any progress could be made out West, women had to make that rugged journey over the plains to the new frontier.

Starting in the 1830s, and reaching a peak between 1846 and the end of the Civil War, the Oregon Trail served as a pathway for nearly half a million emigrants who set off to the West to form new communities and societies from their individual stakes as farmers, settlers, ranchers, and miners. Most of the emigrants were men, but there were a few women who tackled the overland journey bent on mining or homesteading on their own. Men could make the journey alone as drovers for the large wagon trains or with a plan to mine, strike it rich, and return to their homes in the east.

Women traveled west as part of families and on their own to seek new opportunities. The experience of crossing the plains changed many of them — and helped demonstrate their grit, even as they held onto their identities as the protectors of family and morality. In their new homes, women took on public roles due to economic necessity and the needs of the community. They earned more authority, and combined with their perceived moral directive, they began to influence politics individually and pragmatically.

Women found plenty of opportunities in the West that were not available in the East: everything from the right to vote to equal pay for women teachers to more liberal divorce laws. Wyoming Territory passed a series of such laws in 1869, partly in an effort to attract more settlers. Thus, the West was the first home of women’s suffrage in the U.S., with nearly every western state or territory enfranchising women long before women won the right to vote in eastern states. Before the 19th Amendment, the amendment granting women the right to vote, was passed in 1920, almost every western state had already given women statewide suffrage. Four western states, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho had granted it before 1900.

The fight for woman suffrage in the West wasn’t a new, separate movement, distinct from the efforts in the East. But the fight proceeded with a sense of inevitability in the newly minted territories. The ideologies and reforming zeal that spread from the Great Awakening, to the fiery rhetoric of the abolitionist movement, to the emerging natural ally of the woman’s movement — the temperance movement — weren’t abandoned in the West. But those ideologies were tempered by circumstance and taken up by women who were part of the Cult of True Womanhood, but who had earned their reputation for Grit on the Overland Trail and as part of the new frontier. The women who agitated for their rights were sure of their worth — and aware of their power in the new communities springing up around gold strikes and homestead stakes. And they used the tools at their disposal to influence the outcome. They knew that their power came from the fact that they were women, not in spite of it.

The fight for woman suffrage across the country waged on.

Between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and all those doughboys heading off to fight in World War I, women demanded to be seen as full citizens of the United States. Some historians refer to the years between 1890 and 1920 as the women’s era because it was in that time when women started to have greater economic and political opportunities. Women were also aided by legal changes like getting the right to own property, control their wages and make contracts and wills. By 1900, almost 5 million women throughout the nation worked for wages, mainly in domestic service or light manufacturing like the garment industry.

American women in every part of the country were active as reformers and those reform movements brought women into state and national politics before the dawn of the progressive era. Unfortunately, one of their greatest achievements, prohibition, was a detriment to the cause.

‘A WIDER FREEDOM IS COMING’

Women’s greatest influence came through their membership and leadership in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU was founded in 1874 and by 1890 had 150,000 members making it the largest female organization in the United States. Under the leadership of Frances Willard, the WCTU embraced a large reform agenda including pushing for the right for women to vote. The feeling was that the best way to stop people from drinking was to pass local laws that made it harder to drink, and to do that it would be very helpful if women could vote — because American men were alcoholic scoundrels who darn well were not going to vote to get rid of beer. Consequently, men were reluctant to give women the right to vote for fear of losing the pleasure of drinking.

Being deprived of alcoholic beverages wasn’t the only objection men had to denying women the right to vote, opposition to woman suffrage ran a wide gamut. There were those who believed that voting would damage women’s health and those who turned the argument that women would vote as their husbands did, arguing that women didn’t need to vote when they had a male protector to do it for them.

In 1895, Willard boldly declared, “A wider freedom is coming to the women of America. Too long has it been held that woman has no right to enter these movements … politics is the place for woman.” The movement Willard referred to continued to spread in the West. Overland pioneers like Abigail Scott Duniway, who was one of the leaders of the Suffrage Movement in Idaho, quickly became part of the movement to extend votes for women in the region. She organized many campaigns and protests until a bill was passed in 1896 that allowed women the right to vote in Idaho, and a year later, Duniway was the first woman to register to vote in Idaho. In addition to advocating for women’s rights in her own state, Duniway was instrumental in establishing Oregon’s Equal Suffrage Proclamation.

Women also protested to gain the right to vote in Colorado. Suffragists established the Colorado Non-Partisan Equal Suffrage Association and approached women’s organizations, churches, political parties and charity groups to gain allies for their cause. And after agitating nonstop from 1877 on, the Women’s Suffrage Referendum passed on Nov. 7, 1893. The following year, Colorado became the first state to have elected female legislators.

Martha Hughes Cannon, the first woman elected to the Utah state senate — in 1896 — was a polygamist wife, a practicing physician, and an astute and pioneering politician. Her husband was the Republican candidate. She, a Democrat, defeated him in that historic election.

And in 1916, four years before she would be legally allowed to vote in an election, Montana’s Jeannette Rankin was sent to Washington D.C., as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana. Four years later, in 1920, Nellie Taloe Ross would be elected governor of Wyoming.

The passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment was a significant event in American history and it’s also a recent event. When my grandmother was born women could not vote in the United States. Women’s long fight to gain the right to vote ended with the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920. The suffrage wind had blown from west to east. The West had made it possible for the world to see what it meant for women to have the right to vote. It had been extremely persuasive in convincing other states and Congress as to the value of women voting.

Women’s suffrage associations across the country congratulated one another on the victory and promised to continue the fight towards equal rights in other areas. On Aug. 26, 1920, Carrie Chapman Catt, one of the movement’s key leaders, summed up the importance of the conquest best, “The vote is won. Seventy-two years the battle for this privilege has been waged, but human affairs with their eternal change move on without pause. Progress is calling to you to make no pause. Act!”

Chris Enss, who lives in Grass Valley, is an author and screenwriter. She has written more than 20 books on the subject of women in the Old West.


Why Do We Blame Women For Prohibition?

One hundred years later, it’s time to challenge a long-held bias.

Mark Lawrence Schrad is assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and author of the new book Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State.

One hundred years ago this month—on January 16, 1919—the 18th Amendment was ratified, enshrining alcohol prohibition in the U.S. Constitution. And for the past hundred years, we’ve largely blamed women for that. Porque?

With the obvious exception of the women’s rights movement—from suffragism to #MeToo—perhaps no other social movement in American history is as synonymous with women as temperance, and none is as vilified. Histories dismiss prohibition derisively as a “pseudo-reform . carried about America by the rural-evangelical virus,” and a “wrongheaded social policy waged by puritanical zealots of a bygone Victorian era.” We describe prohibitionists in the same way we talk about Al Qaeda or ISIS: They were “ruthless” “extremists,” “deeply antidemocratic” “fanatics and fools,” who posed a “threat to individual freedoms.” These evildoers are almost universally understood to be women.

The standard trope back in the 1920s, when prohibition was in full force, was that the policy was “put over while the boys were away” fighting World War I—if only the men had been home, prohibition would have been avoided. Surprisingly, this gendered conspiracy theory has endured, despite being completely unfounded. There was no popular referendum on 18th Amendment, and most women couldn’t vote anyway since, chronologically, the 18th Amendment came before the suffragist 19th Amendment. (A handful of western states granted women full voting rights before the 19th Amendment.) The only woman who voted for the 18th Amendment was Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the country’s first—and at that time, only—congresswoman. In 1918, hers was but one of the bipartisan supermajority of 282 yeas (to 128 nays) in the House that passed the prohibition amendment. In the all-male Senate, the vote to submit the amendment to the states for ratification was even more lopsided: 65-20.

In January 1919, the 18th Amendment was the first order of business for many state legislatures elected in the 1918 midterms. With unprecedented speed, 46 of the 48 states voted for prohibition, in some cases unanimously. With 80.5 percent of state legislators in favor (5,033 to 1,219), support for prohibition was even greater at the state level, where 99.8 percent of representatives were men.

Well, if not the vote—one might protest—then surely the temperance movement itself was women’s work? Think of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)—or one of its greatest celebrities, Carrie A. Nation. She famously led bands of women into Kansas saloons, smashing them with hatchets, singing Bible hymns and quoting scripture! As her celebrity rose, she even trademarked the name “Carry,” in order to coin the phrase “Carry A. Nation for prohibition.”

Anecdotally, I’ve long asked colleagues, students and historians: “Who’s the most famous prohibitionist?” The answer is Carrie Nation, every time. Little wonder: Today, she plays a starring role in virtually every temperance history, features prominently in Ken Burns’ documentary “Prohibition” and was the first personality you’d meet at the prohibition exhibition at the National Constitution Center. Carrie Nation embodies everything we think we know about prohibitionists: a scorned, white, protestant, evangelical, Midwestern woman. She was imposing in stature, prone to violence and—claiming God spoke to her, urging her to attack saloons—slightly unhinged. In sum: the perfect Maleficent for American historians.

The only problem is that Carrie Nation died in 1911, almost a full decade before the 18th Amendment was ratified. So why do we blame her for something that happened years after her death, while exonerating those directly responsible for prohibition? Why do we remember Carrie Nation, but forget the “father of prohibition” Neal Dow? Or Anti-Saloon League “dry boss” Wayne Wheeler, who in 1922 was described as “the man who is as much or more than any other single person, directly responsible for the able leadership bringing prohibition”? Or Andrew Volstead, the man whose name is on the prohibition-enforcement act? Based on Google’s Ngram dataset of over 500 billion words from some 15 million digitized books, we can chart the notoriety of individuals over time. The data suggests that, since prohibition’s repeal in 1933, the men responsible for prohibition have begun largely to vanish from history, while the image of Carrie Nation endures.

The Forgotten Prohibitionists
Yearly frequency of names mentioned in Google’s corpus of digitized books, 1900-2000.

If you asked me, I would say progressive stalwart William Jennings Bryan was the most famous American prohibitionist. He fought vehemently against the liquor traffic where rich capitalists got richer by getting workers addicted to booze. “The Great Commoner” had far more political clout than Carrie Nation. Or consider Frederick Douglass—perhaps the most famous orator of the 19th century, back when abolitionism was virtually synonymous with temperance. On his temperance tour of Britain in 1845, Douglass, who, like Nation, died well before nationwide prohibition was passed, claimed, “If we could but make the world sober, we would have no slavery. Mankind has been drunk.” In his autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: American Slave, he explained that keeping slaves stupefied with liquor was “the most effective means in the hands of the slaveholder in keeping down the spirit of insurrection” on the plantations.

Such details largely disappear from contemporary biographies, perhaps because they don’t fit our image of temperance as an angry, white, female, Bible-thumping crusade against individual liberty. While their political legacies are obviously variegated, Frederick Douglass, William Jennings Bryan and Carrie Nation all held the exact same positions on abolition, suffragism and prohibition. Yet even the titles of their biographies belie their differential treatment by historians: Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. William Jennings Bryan: A Godly Hero, or Champion of Democracy. And Carrie Nation? Vessel of Wrath. Historians give William and Fredrick a free pass for their role in prohibition along with Neal, Wayne and Andrew we’re told that Carrie is the real villain.

So, why do we blame women for prohibition? Misogyny is the easy answer but more fundamentally, we need to better understand not just who the prohibitionists were, but what motivated them in the first place. Perhaps they weren’t the “deeply antidemocratic” monsters that we now make them out to be.

Contrary to popular description, prohibitionists weren’t hellbent on taking away the individual’s “right to drink.” From its very inception, the temperance movement targeted not the drink, or the drinker, but the drink seller. Just as abolitionists objected to the slave trader who profited from subjugating others, prohibitionists aimed at a predatory liquor traffic of wealthy capitalists and saloonkeepers who—together with a state that, before the income tax, relied disproportionately on liquor revenues—got rich from the drunken misery of the poor. The 18th Amendment doesn’t even outlaw alcohol or drinking. It prohibits the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” This wasn’t some oversight the target was the traffic, not the booze.

Prohibitionists were very clear about this. The 18th Amendment was very clear, too. That we have a hard time believing it today—scoffing that outlawing booze or booze sales has the same practical outcome of restricting the rights of the individual—says more about our changing understandings of liberty than theirs. It is only in more recent generations (with the rise of Hayekian neoliberalism after World War II) that any interference with the free market is deemed a constraint on our citizenship rights. For most of American history, political liberty and economic liberty were understood to be distinct from each other. There is no “right to buy” anywhere in the constitution.

Ultimately, we need to stop vilifying prohibitionists as “antidemocratic” simply because our understanding of liberty has changed. In fact, prohibitionists championed the right of self-determination, and the right of the community to defend itself against extortionate businesses and government corruption. Prohibitionists encouraged grassroots power—especially for communities, counties and states to vote themselves dry at the ballot box. Such Jeffersonian commitments made prohibitionists natural allies of abolitionists and suffragists from the very beginning. (Prohibitionists who cheered the 18th Amendment’s ratification in 1919 also cheered when the 19th Amendment gave women the vote the following year.) At its core, prohibition was a populist attack against predatory capitalism and its corrupt ties to government power.

It was no fluke that the ultimate victory of prohibition came at the high point of the Progressive Era: like other reforms of its day, prohibition was fundamentally progressive. Prohibition protected consumers from unscrupulous sellers of potentially dangerous substances, just like the progressive Pure Food and Drug Act, and Federal Meat Inspection Acts of 1906. Prohibition targeted the corrupting power of big business, just like the Federal Trade Commission Act and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts of 1914.

Moralizing Bible-thumpers like Carrie Nation were only one part of a broad prohibitionist coalition. Focusing only on activists like her, though, produces a wildly incomplete picture, which our brains try to make whole by filling in the gaps with deeply rooted—and misogynist—social biases.

Centennials are a time for reassessment—and since prohibition’s centennial comes in the #MeToo era, it is high time to unpack our highly gendered received wisdom.


Mississippi Didn't Ratify the 19th Amendment Until 1984. Here's Why Some States Waited Decades

W hen Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920, that was enough: as the 36th state to approve the amendment, the Volunteer State made sure the U.S. Constitution would enshrine into law “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.&rdquo

And while this summer’s centennial is remembered as a landmark moment in history for American women, 1920 only tells part of the story. The ratification did not mean that all American women gained the constitutional right to vote immediately in 1920 numerous barriers to voting remained for several communities, including Black women, Native American and Indigenous women, Asian American women and Latinx women. African American women and men’s voting rights would not be incorporated into the country’s law until Voting Rights Act of 1965.

And on a more symbolic level, some states did not ratify the amendment until as recently as the 1970s and 1980s. That delay did not affect women’s right to vote, but it did send a message about just how controversial such an idea was.

Several states reacted actively rejected the Amendment in 1919 and 1920. Eleven states ratified it after it had already been certified in 1920&mdashbut not all at once. It would be fifty years before South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana would do so, with Mississippi becoming the last to join in 1984. From state to state, several factors were at play. In Virginia, which ratified in 1952, the Virginia Association Opposed to Woman’s Suffrage distributed pamphlets that argued that the vote would actually have a negative impact on the every day lives of women, that it was the “vanguard of socialism” and that it would undermine the role of husbands in the family. Similarly in Alabama, which ratified in 1953, the Women&rsquos Anti-Ratification League put forward the idea that Alabama women should be more concerned about raising families than participation in civic life, and in Florida, which ratified in 1969, opposition from newspapers and politicians to suffrage was fierce.

In some states, opposition during the suffrage campaigns of the 1910s was founded on the fear that if the 19th Amendment were ratified, it would also mean that the federal government would then enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, requiring the states to allow Black men to vote. It was also seen as interference in the states’ rights to decide on who could vote and who could not. In February 1920, Mississippi’s legislature rejected the ratification of the 19th, and was one of two states in the country, alongside Georgia, which argued that women had missed the registration cut-off, that still did not allow women to vote in the November 1920 election.

“The biggest lesson for me from the suffrage movement is that you need to fight to win the war, not the battle,” says Sally Roesch Wagner, historian, author and editor of The Women’s Suffrage Movement anthology.

There is some irony in Southern resistance of suffrage. As Wagner points out, the white suffragists who were the fact of the movement in 1920 had devoted much of their energy to winning over the votes of Southern states, including those that initially refused to ratify. In doing so, they “sold out the movement,” she says, by “using racism as organizational policy.”

When states ratified the 19th amendment well after 1920 it was more of a ceremonial gesture, but one that still did carry great symbolism.

It was an all-male Senate that voted on Mississippi’s ratification of the 19th amendment in 1984, in what was called a “housekeeping measure.” Yet it was introduced by two female state representatives Frances Savage of Brandon and Margaret Tate of Picayune. On its ratification, Savage suggested that the reason for the delay was that it was simply not a priority during the years of the Depression, World War II and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But by then, it had once again risen to the top: As historian Marjorie Julian Spruill writes, when Mississippi was debating the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, “many Mississippians regarded the state’s failure to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment as an embarrassment,” especially as North Carolina became the penultimate state to ratify the Amendment in 1971.

On the day it was ratified in Mississippi, on March 22, 1984, Savage said that the action “reaffirms the right of women to participate in government in Mississippi.” Others were more surprised that the state had taken this long overdue step, given that women in Mississippi had already been voting for a long time. Newspapers reported that Jan Lewis, the state director of the ACLU at the time “burst into laughter when told the news” and said “well, the state seems to find itself a day late and a dollar short.”

Historian Martha S. Jones, author of the forthcoming book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All., points to the later ratifications as reflective of states’ changing electorates and demographics. And the 19th Amendment was not alone: notably, the 13th and 15th Amendments, which banned slavery and gave Black Americans the right to vote in the wake of the Civil War, were also formally ratified by several states in the 1960s and 󈨊s, well after they had been added to the Constitution.

“It’s deeply symbolic because even the late ratifications are manifestations of the ways in which the allocation of political power has shifted in an individual state,” Jones says. “Black lawmakers, women lawmakers [and] Black women lawmakers are key to these shifts and it is a way of signaling their rise to political power.”

But while these late ratifications may be surprising, they actually fit right in with one of Jones’ primary arguments about the history of suffrage: that the ratification of the 19th Amendment was more of a touchstone in a series of decades-long struggles for marginalized communities, rather than the cornerstone event in achieving women’s suffrage.

For many Americans, that longer struggle stretched well beyond 1920 in ways that were not just symbolic. African American women and men alike continued to face Jim Crow laws, voter intimidation and suppression, lynching, discriminatory literacy tests and other barriers to voting across the country, particularly in those Southern states. Similarly, Wagner’s research on the Haudenoshaunee women of the Iroquois confederacy highlights how Indigenous women’s longstanding political power and voice within their communities influenced the thinking of white suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Cunningham Fletcher, even as Native American women were unable to vote until Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act in 1924. For Asian American women too, 1920 did not bring immediate change. In 1912, the New York Times described Chinese-American suffrage activist Mabel Ping-Hua Lee as “the symbol of a new era, when all women will be free and unhampered.” But it wouldn’t be until 1943 that Chinese Americans were first permitted to become citizens, and until 1952 that the McCarran-Walter Act granted all people of Asian ancestry the right to become citizens, and therefore to vote.

And that story still continues. The current Congress is the body’s most racially and ethnically diverse, with a record number of women representatives, and yet the fight for all Americans to be able to vote continues today&mdashwhether or not all states have ratified the 19th Amendment.


Amendment added to U.S. Constitution

The Nineteenth Amendment was at last added to the Constitution, however, in August 1920 after Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify. It had taken almost 75 years for suffragists to achieve this victory.

The final indication of Mississippi's negative response to the Nineteenth Amendment was that the state was one of only two in the nation that did not allow women to vote in the November 1920 election. Instead, an all-male electorate voted on a state constitutional amendment for woman suffrage that received more yes than no votes, but not the majority of all votes cast. Therefore, the amendment failed. Suffragists had not bothered to campaign for it since they were enfranchised by national law and the state law would not matter. Nevertheless, it was still very disappointing to them that Mississippi, their home state, had not approved woman suffrage. Yet, a mere two years later, in one of the many ironies in Mississippi history, the state's two leading suffragists, Somerville and Kearney, were elected to the state legislature.

By the 1970s, when Mississippi was debating the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, many Mississippians regarded the state's failure to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment as an embarrassment as Mississippi was the only state that had never done so. Thus, on March 22, 1984, the Mississippi Legislature — on a day when few legislators were even listening and with no opposition — finally ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.

Marjorie Julian Spruill, Ph.D., is associate vice chancellor for institutional planning and research professor of history at Vanderbilt University. Previously she was professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. Ela é a autora de New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States, Oxford University Press, 1993. She has edited three books: One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement, NewSage Press, 1995, Votes for Women! The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South, and the Nation, University of Tennessee Press, 1995, and a new edition of Mary Johnston’s 1913 pro-suffrage novel, Hagar, University Press of Virginia, 1994.

Jesse Spruill Wheeler, her son, studied Mississippi history while in the ninth grade during the 2000-2001 school year.


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