Sunday, April 19, 2009

from Dashmann - a history question

I have been trying ... to dig up party voting records on the Woman's Suffrage movement giving women the right to vote in the early 20th century.I am curious to find out whether the parties split on the issue and which way.

Protests like the Teabag Party lead me to believe Republicans generally opposed the movement while Democrats supported it, but I have not been able to find evidence either way.

So far my research on support/opposition to Woman's suffrage has yielded these results.

My objective in raising the subject is to determine if any one political party in constant power would have given women the right to vote, a moral principle we take for granted now in America.

The strongest opponents were from Womens groups themselves and religious groups, especially Roman Catholics.

First states to give women the right to vote were in [states] like Wyoming and Colorado, followed my the mid-west states.

Southern states were mostly opposed as the subject was thought of in much the same way as the anti-slavery issue.

While the amendment finally passed under Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, I have not yet found general support or oppsition from either major party. Wilson started with a Democratic congress and ended with a Republican one.

Senator Thomas Palmer, a Republican from Detroit favored giving women the vote.

I know there are a lot of smarter people than me that read this blog. I would welcome any help, pro or can, opinion or factual, that anyone could contribute to shed more light on this.


Sparty said...

Dashman: This is what I remember on this topic; but, be advised, I've forgotten most of what I once knew.

Nationally, the party most likely to control both houses of Congress and the presidency in the period 1860-1932 was the GOP. Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were the only Democratic presidents during that period and while the Dems controlled the House several times (prior to 1896)the GOP controlled the Senate nearly all the time. However, the absence of the ratification of a womens' suffrage amendment during that period doesn't mean the GOP was the major stumbling block. In fact, elements of the GOP during that period were more progressive than most Democrats. Wilson opposed women's suffrage until the war years, when he supported it as contributing to the war effort. (Footnote: Wilson was not a social progressive - he's the president who brought Jim Crow segregation hiring policies to federal employment.) It wasn't until WWI that a critical mass of states petitioned the Congress to propose an amendment granting women throughout the states the right to vote. (Footnote #2: Speaking of people who weren't entirely progressive, many women in the suffrage movement supported the amendment as a way of diluting the voting power of male immigrants.) There, that's probably more than you wanted. (Footnote #3: During the American Revolution the state of New Jersey adopted a state constitution that granted at least some women the right to vote. However, after the war New Jersey adopted a new constitution that limited suffrage to males who owned property or paid taxes.)

Alice said...

Perhaps a point of interest: prior to 1896, the State of Utah had universal suffrage. However, in order to become a part of the U.S,they were required to give it up by the U.S. government.

Alice said...

I'd check the National Archives in Washington D.C. and the branch in Chicago. ......check to see if there are party archives also.

Bud said...

I was talking to Dashmann, and he wanted me to thank people who responded. He's learned a lot of new information from this ...