1977 July 9

Alice Paul, Force Behind Women’s Suffrage Amendment and Author of the Equal Rights Amendment, Dies


Alice Paul was one of the most important and influential feminists of the first half of the twentieth century. She organized militant picketing of the White House during World War I to demand an amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. She lobbied President Woodrow Wilson in the White House on March 17, 1913, was arrested for picketing the White House on October 20, 1917, and was brutalized in jail on November 15, 1917. Her efforts were instrumental in the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote, on August 18, 1920, and women voting for the first time in a presidential election on November 2, 1920.

On July 21, 1923, Paul drafted an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution that would guarantee women equal rights. It was introduced in Congress in 1923 and debated through the 1950s. A revived women’s movement reintroduced the ERA in the 1960s. Rep. Martha Griffiths forced the bill out of committee in the House, where it was bottled up, on June 11, 1970, and the amendment went to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972. It was quickly ratified by many states, but then ran into fierce opposition from conservatives stalled, and then died (see January 18, 1977).

Learn about Alice Paul: Jill Zahniser and Amelia Fry, Alice Paul: Claiming Power (2014)

Read: Mary Walton, Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot (2010)

Read Alice Paul’s first-hand account of her lifehttp://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt6f59n89c&doc.view=entire_text

Learn more at the Alice Paul Institute: http://www.alicepaul.org/

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