Sunday, July 8, 2007

Alice Paul
By Emily Chumbley

Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885 in New Jersey. The suffrage movement in Paulsdale had a huge affect on Alice and that is when she started to become fully interested in Women's Rights. Alice's mother, Tacie, was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Alice attended a lot of the meetings with her mother. From then on Alice had dedicated her whole life to women equality.

A quate well-known from Alice, she learned from her mother was, "when you put your hand in the plow, you can't put it down until you end the row." This is the quate she had used to credit her farm upbringing. Alice grew in to a Quaker family and was always surrounded by Quakers. Alice stated "When the Quakers were of their principles was and is equality of the sexes. So I never had any other idea...the principle was always there." Growing up in the 20th century, this concept was abnormal to everyone else but normal to Alice.

Alice graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Biology. In college is where she learned some of the leading female academics, including Professor Susan Cunningham, who was one of the first women to be admitted to the American Mathematics Association. After graduating, Alice went to Birminghamd, England in 1907. That is where she had met the leaders of a militant faction of suffragettes, The Pankhurts women. Alice had tranformed from a reserved Quaker girl into a militant suffrage. After joinging the movement, breaking windows and being arrested to prove a point, Alice believed the English suffragettes had found a path to victory and returned to America in hopes to do the same. Upon her return to America in 1910, Alice stated, "The militant policy is bringing success...theagitation has brough England out of her lethargy, and women of England are now talking of the time when they will vote, instead of the time when their children would vote, as was the custom of a year or two ago." Alice was ready to go back and re-engergize the American campaign for women's enfranchisement.

Alice joined the National American Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She was appointed head of the Congressional Committee in charge of working for a federally suffrage amendment. On March 3, 1913 a parade of women turned ugly with physical violence as the police just stood by and watched. Alice's group made headlines across the nation and suffrage finally became an important issue among the public and politicians. In 1916, Alice formed the National Women's Party (NWP). The NWP had "Silent Sentinels" that stood outside the White House holding signs with aggressive phrases towards President Wilson. Arrest of all the picketers began and the ill-treated women in prisons got sympathy from the public and a lot more supporters of women's suffrage.

Finally, on August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed and American women gained the right to vote. In 1923, Alice started working for a new amendment called the "Lucretia Mott Amendment." This amendment stated, "Men and women shall have equal rights thoughout the United State and every place subject to its jurisdiction." The Equal Rights Amendment was finally passed in 1972. Alice earned three law degrees, began World Woman's Party(WWP), and she became active in American women's issues. Alice led a coalition in adding a sexual discrimination clause to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Alice Paul died on July 9, 1977, in Moorestown, New Jersey. Her legacy lives on, showing everyone that one person can make a huge difference. In 1985, the Alice Paul Institute was founded and dedicated to creating a leadership program at Paulsdage. The institute honors her role as an active feminist and hopes to develop future leaders.

I have never heard of Alice Paul until this assignment. She opened a lot of doors to this country by being a radical feminist and if it wasnt for her we would not be as far along as we are today. She definatly taught me, probably what she taught a lot of others, that one person does and can make a huge difference if they are dedicated to it.


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