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Pamphlet Quotes President Wilson to Support Woman Suffrage in New York State
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This pamphlet, issued by the New York State Woman Suffrage Party, quoted speeches and letters by President Woodrow Wilson to urge New York men to vote for woman suffrage on November 6, 1917.

[WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE]. Pamphlet. “What President Wilson Says,” New York: National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., ca. June-October 1917. 4 pp., 5 x 7 in.

Inventory #22444.26       Price: $350


‘We are fighting for the essential part of it all, (democracy) namely ... to have a right to a voice in the Government under which we live, and when men and women are equally admitted to those rights, we have the best safeguard of justice and of peace that the world affords. There is no other safeguard.’—May 16, 1917.” (p1)

Letter to Carrie Chapman Catt, January 27, 1917:

As you know, I have a very real interest in the extension of the Suffrage to the women and I feel that every step in this direction should be applauded.” (p2)

Address to National Convention of Suffragists, September 8, 1916:

Woman Suffrage is going to prevail, and that is a very superficial and ignorant view of it which attributes it to mere social unrest. It is not merely because the women are discontented. It is because the women have seen visions of duty, and that is something which we not only cannot resist, but if we be true Americans, we do not wish to resist.” (p3)

Stand by Our President and make our own glorious country a Democracy—‘for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Government.’” (p4)

Show that you are a true American.

Work for the N. Y. Woman Suffrage Amendment November 6th, 1917

Vote for the N. Y. Woman Suffrage Amendment November 6th, 1917” (p4)

Historical Background

American involvement in World War I brought a changing understanding of democracy and reenergized the woman suffrage movement. In February 1917, women confronted President Woodrow Wilson by protesting in front of the White House gates. The protest continued until November 1917, and many women were arrested and jailed for their efforts. Word of their brutal treatment in prison brought sympathetic attention to the woman suffrage cause.

In the state of New York, Carrie Chapman Catt founded the New York State Woman Suffrage Party in 1909 at the Convention of Disfranchised Women. It was an inclusive organization that included African American women, actively recruited working class women, and printed its literature in several languages to reach Italian, Jewish, and Chinese women in New York. By 1915, the Woman Suffrage Party had 100,000 members, but a referendum in October 1915 lost when 58 percent of the male voters in New York rejected suffrage for women.

Undaunted, the Woman Suffrage Party used American participation in World War I as a reason that men should vote for suffrage. They canvassed from door to door with petitions, urging men to sign a pledge in favor of woman suffrage to demonstrate to nervous politicians in Albany the degree of male support for women’s suffrage.

The Woman Suffrage Party organized hierarchically, like Tammany Hall, to maintain both centralized direction and close contact with individuals. It also published The Woman Voter as its official journal from 1910 to 1917. Although the Party lobbied for women’s suffrage, it opposed the confrontational protests by the suffragists outside the White House during much of 1917, believing that they tended to “harass the Government in this time of great stress.”

In March 1917, the legislature granted the suffragists a second chance to submit their amendment to the voters. The Woman Suffrage Party raised more than $400,000 for the 1917 referendum, calling on very wealthy families to donate. On November 6, 1917, men in New York went to the polls to decide whether women should have the right to vote. The referendum passed by a vote of 703,129 to 600,776 (54 to 46 percent). Although the referendum failed upstate by 1,570 votes, New York City approved it by a margin of 103,863. Catt later declared the campaign in New York State as the decisive battle of the American woman suffrage movement.

In his address to the U.S. Senate on September 30, 1918, President Wilson also used the war as an additional reason to support universal suffrage: “I regard the concurrence of the Senate in the constitutional amendment proposing the extension of the suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of the great war of humanity in which we are engaged.”

In May 1919, the New York Woman Suffrage Party became the New York branch of the League of Women Voters. A month later, Congress passed a proposed Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and submitted it to the states for ratification. The proposed amendment prohibited the denial of the right to vote on the basis of sex. The necessary three quarters of the states had ratified the amendment by just over a year later, in August 1920, when the amendment became part of the Constitution.

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