Wednesday, September 30, 2015

INEZ | 5A. Sept. 30–Wilson Supports Anthony Amendment

Wilson opposed the Anthony
Amendment until Sept. 30, 1917.
On this day in 1918 President Woodrow Wilson endorsed the Anthony Amendment, having opposed it during his re-election year of 1916.

The House of Representatives approved the amendment to give women the right to vote in Federal elections, the Senate had yet to vote for it. Until the amendment was passed and ratified (as it was in August 1920), it was up to each state to decide who would vote in Federal elections.

Wilson opposed the Anthony Amendment in his first term and in his re-election campaign in 1916. Inez Milholland went on a whistle-stop speaking tour with her sister Vida to get women to vote against Wilson in the western territories, where women had the right to vote in Federal elections.

She noted that Wilson had opposed suffrage for women. He may have kept us out of the war, she said, but he also "kept us out of suffrage".

Inez Milholland Boissevain died in Los Angeles in November 1916 after having collapsed on stage - exhausted by her campaign and ignoring serious illness - and a delegation of women called on Wilson in early 1917 to ask him to reconsider supporting woman suffrage because of the death of Inez Milholland. (Wilson in the White House video.)

Inez Milholland and her sister Vida conducted a whistle-
stop tour in 1916 to campaign against Wilson for not
supporting the Anthony Amendment.
Wilson scornfully dismissed the women from the National Woman's Party as being politically naive and they reacted by instituting a nonstop picket of the White House. The protests reached a crescendo when several women were arrested, jailed and went on a hunger strike. Wilson was appalled to learn that the jailed suffragists were being force-fed and he finally stepped in to champion their cause.

Rather than give any credit to the picketers, Wilson attributed his change of heart to the debt that America owed to the country’s women. In his September 30 speech to Congress, Wilson said:
We have made partners of the women in this war… Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?
However, the bill died in the Senate and it would be another year before Congress finally passed the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote.

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