Woman suffrageMoving Mountains: What can we learn from the woman suffrage movement?
Outline A little history. . . Some sociological jargon . . . What we now know about social movement success . . . What does it matter?
Abigail Adams to John Adams March 31, 1776"I long to hear that you have declared anindependency. And, by the way, in the newcode of laws which I suppose it will benecessary for you to make, I desire you wouldremember the ladies and be more generousand favorable to them than your ancestors."Do not put such unlimited power into thehands of the husbands. Remember, all menwould be tyrants if they could. If particularcare and attention is not paid to the ladies, weare determined to foment a rebellion, and willnot hold ourselves bound by any laws inwhich we have no voice or representation.”
Early activists A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792)— The 19th century “triumvirate” of woman suffrage Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Cady Stanton Lucy Stone Blackwell +Lucretia Mott The Subjection of Women (John Stuart Mill with Harriet Taylor Mill)--1851
What did these women want? Declaration of Sentiments 1848 Elective Franchise (suffrage) Property Ownership Freedom from dominance of husbands and recognition before the law Custody of children in case of divorce Access to well paying occupations Educational opportunities Public participation in the affairs of their churches Representation as a tax paying citizen
Conservatism and Woman Suffrage Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1873 Francis Willard Focus on social reform Alcoholism Prohibition Moral reform Prison reform Evangelical Christian “more traditionally feminine and appropriate organization for women”
Mountain West led the way 1869: Wyoming territorial legislature extends the vote to women. 1870: Utah territorial legislature extends the vote to women. 1870: Colorado territorial legislature does not grant women the right to vote. 1876: Colorado enters the Union without enfranchising women. 1877: Colorado’s first woman suffrage referendum campaign goes down to defeat. Women receive the right to vote in school elections and to hold school office (partial suffrage). 1883: Washington territorial legislature extends the vote to women. 1887: Congress rescinds woman suffrage in Utah. Territorial Supreme Court of Washington rescinds woman suffrage. 1890: Wyoming admitted to the Union as a suffrage state. 1895: Utah Statehood Convention approves woman suffrage. 1893: Colorado becomes the first state to grant women the right to vote by popular referendum. 1896: Idaho adopts a constitutional amendment granting suffrage to women.
Utah Suffrage Movement Support from anti-polygamy activists in the East Mormon women organized through the Relief Society LDS Church leadershipsupportive Lost vote; Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887.
Woman suffrage successes by 1919, a state by state strategy WA 1910 MT 1914 OR 1912 ID SD NY 1896 MI 1917 WY 1918 1918 1890 NV 1914 UT CA 1896 CO 1911 1893 KS 1912 AZ OK 1912 1918Full Suffrage 1890 - 1896 1910 - 1914 1915 - 1918 No Suffrage
Was there something about the West? Not easy More successes Successes came earlier 11 Western states have the vote by 1912 Encouraged women in the East Susan B. Anthony votes in 1872 election after touring Western states Alice Paul and the Women’s Party (13 Western states have the vote) pickets the White House hunger strike Women in the West can vote?#!@
Woman suffrage Social movementsLabor movementCivil Rights movementWomen’s movementAnti-War movementsPro-ChoiceRight to LifeLGBT movementEnvironmentalmovementTea PartyOccupy Wall Street
Social movements Social movements Organized action Focused on specific political or social issues. Carry out, resist, or undo social change. Made up of many different social movement organizations Suffrage movement consisted of many different SMOs (social movement organizations) National Woman Suffrage (1869) American Woman Suffrage (1869) National American Woman Suffrage Movement (1890) Women’s Party (Alice Paul & Lucy Burns 1917) Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1873) finally joins suffrage movement under the leadership of Francis Willard
Do social movements matter? Sometimes, but not always, and only in certain ways
What does matter?“WHETHER A MOUNTAIN CAN BE MOVED DEPENDS ASMUCH ON THE CHARACTER OF THE MOUNTAIN AS ONTHE RESOURCES, STRATEGIES, AND COMMITMENT OF THE WOULD-BE MOVER”
The Character of the Mountain matters The political process matters Rules and regulations regarding how to change the constitution Constitutional majority required # of sessions required Support of political elites Party support Openness of the political system Initiative and referendum Third Party challengers
Paths to woman suffrage Constitutional Convention Seven conventions, three successful (Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska) Initiative and Referenda Nine initiatives, two successful (Oregon and Arizona) Legislation 582 bills between 1854 and 1918 24 state legislatures passed full suffrage amendments at least once 56 total referenda between 1867 and 1920 40 via legislative process 9 initiative and referenda 7 constitutional convention
Referenda Held (1848-1920)First Firstterritorial state-levelsuccess, 1869 success, 1883
Legislating suffrage Legislative process Bill introduced by a state senator or representative Bill read and sent to committee Bills often stalled in committee or returned from committee with unfriendly proposal Third reading and roll-call vote. As constitutional amendment, majority varied 51% 2/5 2/3 ¾ Introduced in the other house.
Summary of legislative successes 1860-1879 1880-1899 1900-1919 TotalSessions 576 504 435 1515Bill introduced 55 104 181 290Roll call vote 31 70 103 204Passed 1 house 16 29 60 115Passed 2 houses 6 22 39 67Success rate 1% 4.5% 9% *Only 56 referenda held out of the 67. Some legislatures required that the amendment pass in consecutive sessions; in some states there was a limit as to how many amendments could be on the ballot.
How do socialmovementsmatter? Mobilizing people Framing issues Setting agendas Initiating the political process
Opportunities for mobilization are not opportunities for policy reformActivists Politicians Sense of political efficacy Legislators respond to threats instigates action to their political careers Seek confirmation goals are Responsible to the will of the within reach people Attend to shifts in public Spurred on by “small opinion victories” Seek for ways to symbolically Consider different strategies, appease activists weigh different tactics Are less responsive at most Outline sequence of actions consequential stages of political toward end goals process
Strong indicators of success?Women’s employment inprofessional occupationsprovided resources forestablishing state suffrageorganizationsBill passage more likely instates with greaterinvolvement of women innon-agriculturalemployment
What stalls the progress of change? Lack of agreement among women Intersections of race, social class, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, age, nation. Interests are shaped by the things that divide. Black women voting rights sacrificed Regional divides (East vs. West) Agendas (social agendas vs. voting) Religious women and well-to-do women did not support suffrage battle in early years
Insights for creating policy changes Organizing social movements is an activity worlds apart from creating change Mobilizing resources—human capital, finances, adherents Reading the environment, planning, and strategizing Framing issues and drawing media attention Accessing support of political system is difficult; early support more easily achieved than in consequential stage of the legislation. Suffrage movement was successful because women coalesced on one issue.