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Word Count: 856
Alice Paul was born on January 11,1885,
in Moorestown, New Jersey. Her father, who
died when Alice was sixteen, was a businessman,
banker, and property owner. The Pauls lived in the
small Quaker community of Moorestown. One of
the beliefs of the Quakers was equality of the sexes.
As a young girl, Alice attended the Quaker suffrage
meetings with her mother.
Alice Pauls\' father left them enough
money so she could attend the exclusive Swarthmore
College in Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1905 as
a biology major, but after discovering politics in her
senior year, she went on to attend the New York
School of Philanthropy. She majored in sociology,
and spent all of her spare time working for the
woman suffrage in New York.
In 1907, Paul earned a master\'s degree
in sociolgy. She went to England to continue her
work toward her doctorate degree. She was begin-
ning to realize that she couldn\'t change the
situation by social work alone, but needed to
change the actual laws. Women had no voice in
either England or America to change any law.
The suffrage movement was different
in England than in the States. British suffragists
had begun wild women protests in 1905. They
would sneak into male political meetings, and
disrupt the meetings by shouting questions, wave
banners and be arrested.
As Alice Paul became more involved
with the Women\'s Social and Political Union, she
was warned of possible imprisonment. This threat
did not prevent her from sneaking into political
events. She was arrested ten times in England,
three of which ended in prison time. While in
prison, she continued to protest the government\'s
refusal to let women vote or speak publicly, by
not eating. She was force-fed for four weeks.
She returned to America in 1910, where
she continued her studies and her suffrage work.
She brought back from England with her the same
tactics used to get the attention of the newspapers
and the government. She brought the wild suffragette
movement back to the United States.
She teamed up with Lucy Burns, who
she spent prison time with in England. They went
to the National American Women Suffrage
Association and proposed forming a committee to
lobby congressmen for a national suffrage
ammendment. They were named president and
vice president but were told they would have to
raise their own funds.
They began by organizing a volunteer
network then decided to bid for national attention.
Their first appearance as a committee was a
celebration parade for the inauguration of President
Woodrow Wilson. This would certainly be heard
throughout the nation. In just a few weeks they
had over 8,000 marchers representing states, colleges,
and even some other nations. They included 26 floats
depicting women\'s lives and hardships. This was
the first procession of women in our nation for
any cause. This parade caused so much excitement
that it brought the women suffrage movement into
the headlines. By that summer both houses of
congress were discussing women suffrage.
Alice Paul then began publishing a
weekly newspaper, The Suffragist, in November of
1913. In the issues to follow they spoke of injustice
and the laws affecting the interest of women.
In April 1916, the National Women\'s
Party was established as a political party. This party
did not endorse any candidate but only woman
suffrage. The Democrats and Republicans were
beginning to realize the women\'s votes could
definitely influence the election.
For the first time in American politics,
both parties included support for women in their
campaign platforms. Woodrow Wilson was elected
in spite of his demeaning behavior to women, so,
on January 10, 1917, one day after his inauguration,
Alice Paul and her organization began picketing
the White House and continued for the next
On April 6,1917, America went to
war. The picketers began to use the war to
make their points. There were many arrests of the
picketters to follow, the fines were larger and the
prison terms longer and harsher. Alice Paul was
arrested on October 20 and served seven months,
which was the longest term ever served for women
suffrage. The cells were unclean, with rotten food,
parasites, and police brutality. She was put in a
psychiatric ward, where she was questioned and
awakened every hour by inspectors or insane
inmates. But the truth began to reach the public.
Released suffrage prisoners, wearing prison
uniforms, travled on "The Prison Special" and
told of terrible conditions. One week later Paul
President Wilson began urging members
of the House and Senate to vote for the nineteenth
amendment, but kept losing. Then in October 1918,
he pleaded for woman suffrage as part of the
war effort. The amendment was passed in 1920,
giving women the rights of citizens, including the
right to vote.
She did not
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Silent Sentinels, First-wave feminism, American Quakers, Alice Paul, Civil disobedience, Womens suffrage, Lucy Burns, Suffragette, Womens rights, Womens suffrage in the United States, National American Woman Suffrage Association
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