HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » 150 Years Ago Today; S B ...

Wed May 15, 2019, 04:14 AM

150 Years Ago Today; S B Anthony and E C Stanton found the National Woman Suffrage Association


Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was formed on May 15, 1869, in New York City. The National Association was created in response to a split in the American Equal Rights Association over whether the woman's movement should support the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Its founders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, opposed the Fifteenth Amendment unless it included women's right to vote. Men were able to join the organization as members; however, women solely controlled the leadership of the group. The NWSA worked to secure women's enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment. Contrarily, its rival, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), believed success could be more easily achieved through state-by-state campaigns. In 1890 the NWSA and the AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).


In founding the National Association, Stanton and Anthony regarded woman's rights as a broad cause, in which the franchise was of primary importance. The organization, however, advocated a broad platform in supporting the individual liberties of women. As Eleanor Flexner explains, "It [the National] was willing to take up the cudgels for distressed women whatever their circumstances, be they 'fallen women,' divorce cases, or underpaid seamstresses." The broad focus espoused by the National Association allowed it to address a diverse array of social, economic and political issues.

In advocating for a federal amendment to assure women the ballot, the National relied on a natural rights argument. The National adopted the constitutional argument put forth by Francis and Virginia Minor at the Missouri Woman Suffrage Convention in St. Louis in October 1869. Using a constitutional interpretation that used language and directly derived from the Fourteenth Amendment, the Minors argued that women had the right to suffrage because they were citizens. Other general arguments Stanton and the National exercised included points that women were taxed without representation, governed without their consent, and tried and punished without a jury of their peers.

The National brought the constitutionality of denying the franchise to the national limelight by printing Minor's resolutions in its periodical, The Revolution. At the time of the National Association's Washington Convention of 1870, ten thousand copies of Minor's resolutions were circulating around the audience, with copies placed on every member's desk in Congress. In adopting such ideology, officers of the National Association soon began to later their speeches, resolutions, and hearing before Congress. They also made diverse attempts to vote in various states across the country.

The Revolution

George Train, financier of The Revolution newsletter.

During its short life, The Revolution, the weekly newsletter of the National Association, frequently urged reforms to benefit workingwomen. Supported by financier George Train, editor David Melliss and managed by Anthony, The Revolution paraded the motto: "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!"

The weekly sixteen-page paper reported news not found elsewhere, such as the organization of women typesetters, of the first women's clubs, and of women abroad. The Revolution for a short time gave the National a forum, focus, and direction. The newsletter, moreover, reflected the broad agenda of the organization. As Eleanor Flexner elaborates, for instance, The Revolution "exhorted women to equip themselves to earn their own livelihood, to practice bodily hygiene in the matter of fresh air, dress, and exercise." On January 8, 1870 the anniversary of the founding of The Revolution the American Association launched its periodical, The Woman's Journal. Faced with rising debts, and the rising popularity of The Woman's Journal, The Revolution succumbed in May 1870.

In 1873 the National Association continued to pursue national legislation on woman suffrage. While Susan B. Anthony was president, Matilda Joslyn Gage was chairman of its executive committee, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a vice president, the three women acting on behalf of the National Association signed the petition to the U.S. Congress that supported national legislation on the issue. The petition was referred to U.S. House's judicial committee on revision of laws on January 22, 1873, for further consideration of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the summer of 1876, the nation celebrated its Centennial with a highly anticipated exposition in Philadelphia, the first of its kind in America. Opening headquarters in Philadelphia, the National Association sought to use the occasion to draw attention to the inequitable position of women, as well as to organize women from all over the country to exchange their knowledge and experiences. When Thomas W. Ferry, the presiding officer of the July 4th exposition, finished reading the Declaration of Independence, the ladies walked down the aisle and approached the stage where Anthony made a brief speech. Members of the National then presented the presiding officer with a Women's Declaration of Rights. The Women's Declaration of Rights listed the natural rights protected by the government as part of the social contract and went forth to state that the government was infringing upon those rights. In response, the authors listed nine rights for women labeled "Articles of Impeachment." These articles referenced the ways in which women were oppressed and wronged and asked the government to give women the civil and political rights guaranteed to them.

One year later at the National's Convention of January 1877, the organization continued to carry out bold reform measures. Keeping the pressure on Congress, the National drafted a federal amendment calling for woman suffrage penned by Elizabeth Cady Stanton that was reintroduced to the Legislature annually until its eventual adoption in 1919. In the same year, furthermore, Anthony led a group of women onto the floor of the United States Senate bearing suffrage petitions with ten thousand signatures. Such efforts signify the extensive efforts of the National Woman Suffrage Association to keep the pressure on the federal government to promote the causes concerning women's rights while bringing the injustice the encountered to national prominence.

In 1890 the National Association and the American Association merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The merger negotiations between the two organizations began in 1887, dragged for three years, and were finally consummated at a joint convention in February 1890 where the NAWSA nominated Elizabeth Cady Stanton as its first President.

Suffragists Katharine McCormick and Mrs. Charles Parker, holding a historical NWSA banner on April 22, 1913

A 1917 map from the women's suffrage movement showing the status of the drive for suffrage in North America and urging the U.S. to match Canada's successes.


3 replies, 404 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply 150 Years Ago Today; S B Anthony and E C Stanton found the National Woman Suffrage Association (Original post)
Dennis Donovan May 2019 OP
Ninga May 2019 #1
Staph May 2019 #2
IcyPeas May 2019 #3

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 05:58 AM

1. It took 72 years for women to get the vote....72 years from start to ratification.

If every woman eligible votes then all people win.

No joke.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 02:42 PM

2. Thanks for posting this

and for all of the anniversary information that you have been posting! I'm a history buff, and I love being reminded of the things that happened on a particular date.

However, Wikipedia screwed up the caption on that first photograph. That's Elizabeth Cady Stanton seated on the left and Susan B. Anthony standing on the right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 03:54 PM

3. and these neanderthals are still out there...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread