NYT: One year after the women’s march…

An analysis of the “split” between activist groups emerging out of the March, Women’s March Inc. and March On, the former more focused on “social justice protests,” the latter on  “elections, particularly in red states.” Do we see echoes in this of divisions between the suffragists? The author appears concerned that ideological differences may be fracturing the movement; one of her sources, sociologist Jo Reger is more sanguine: “We think it looks so chaotic and full of factions and what it really looks like is every other social movement. . . . Often those factions end up coming back together later on.”

Background to “The Crisis”

Some extra context for Catt’s “Crisis” speech, a Suffrage Map and timeline that offers a rough picture of where things stood when Catt gave her address, and a link to a full-length, critical edition of her speech [UM], which includes her detailed outlining of her plan to push for a federal amendment (in case anyone wants to work further with it).

To get a sense of some of the rhetorical constraints suffragists faced at the turn of the century, see Ida Husted Harper’s 1903 “Miss Anthony at Home,” which emphasizes her “domestic” attriubutes.

For a better sense of the context surrounding Catt’s speech, see these newspaper articles citing her from around the time of the convention.

One of the more militant Sentinel pickets, from the LOC’s NWP photo collection.

Women’s activities (Cleveland)

I’ve included a page on the class website with a rough working timeline of Progressive-era activities of relevance to the class, including primary-source readings. There will not be a quiz on this, but it should serve as a handy reference point as needed. As to today’s questions, the first women’s rights convention was held in 1848. The split between suffragists and civil rights activists occurred in 1869. It was a painful moment for both parties and one that still resonates;  Ta-Nehesi Coates has written on it and it even inspired a recent play, The Agitators.

Women’s Clubs, which began after the civil war and became seen as a movement in the 1880s, were particularly popular at the turn of the 20th Century; the national General Federation of Women’s Clubs was formed in 1890; by 1910 it had over one million members. It is hard to classify women’s clubs as either “conservative” or “liberal” by today’s standards; GFWC members were often “domestic feminists,” who believed in the ideology of “separate spheres” but also in women extending their influence into neighborhoods and governments; one can see how Cleveland might have considered such activities “dangerous.”

Women won the right to vote in 1920.

Welcome and important info


1. Our course website will live here, rather than Canvas. There is no need to “log in” to the site, but to view the syllabus and certain readings you will need to enter a special username and password, which I have emailed to all registered and waitlisted students. Let me know if you need this info.

2. Please take a moment to review the working syllabus to ensure your interest in the course and to familiarize yourself with its requirements. I also recommend downloading a practice reading just to make sure everything is working properly. Let me know if you have any questions in the meantime. 

Cheers, and see you soon,