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tv   C-SPAN Cities Tour- Womens Suffrage  CSPAN  November 24, 2020 10:12am-11:13am EST

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the building from 1790 to 1800 and ratified the bill of rights there. our guide is national parks service ranger matthew iful. enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3 go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution. civil rights and u.s. presidents. to 9/11. thanks for your patience and for logging in to class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the week to change the soviet union but reagan met him halfway. reagan encouraged him, reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press which we'll get to later, i should just mention madison originally called it freedom of the use of the press and it is indeed
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freedom to print things and publish things. it is not a freedom for what we now refer to institutionally as the press. >> lectures in history, on american history tv on c-span 3. every saturday, at 8:00 p.m. eastern. lectures in history is also available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. in 1848 a convention was held in seneca falls, new york to discuss the state of women's rights in the country. the gathering was seen by many as the beginning of the woman's suffrage movement. however, it took until 1920, over 72 years later, for women to earn the right to vote. during those years organizations such as the national american woman's suffrage association, and national woman's party would form. creating a national movement. yet it was women in every community who led the effort in their towns and states to demand rights. through the work of c-span cities tour we'll introduce you to some of these women who
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dedicated their lives to this cause. from a pro-suffrage newspaper publisher in oregon to a 23-year-old montanan arrested for protesting on the white house lawn, why western territories and states were on the leading edge of the movement and you'll hear how a letter from a mother to her son would lead to the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. we begin in seyracuse, new york where the author talks about one of the movement's lesser known figures lieu cree sha not. >> the most important white female abolitionist and one of the most important women in american history. she has not received the same amount of historical attention as one like elizabeth katy stanton has for for example
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whether abolitionists or feminists. she advised reformers to stand out in our heresy, to confront social injustices, political injustices, legal injustices, and not be afraid to be labeled a heretic or an infidel, or, you know, a non-conformist, someone who was willing to go against the tides of society for their beliefs. and that's what lucretia mott did. she was a 19th century american abolitionist, women's rights activist and quaker minister. she lived from 1793 to 1880. so she lived a very long life. she was born on the island of nantucket but she lived most of her adult life in philadelphia, and that was the city from which she based her activism, which stretched across the united
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states and the atlantic as well. lucretia mott definitely defined herself as a feminist in women's rights activist and she traced her commitment to women's rights to her childhood, really, on the island of nantucket. it was a community based on the whaling industry so the men in the community would often go off on three, four, five-year voyages, leaving the women to manage the household, do the household finances, and a lot of them on nantucket ran businesses. so for mott women's independence and capability was self-evident. she -- as the quakers, the society of friends were also one of the first denominations to allow women to preach. so she had always seen female ministers in her childhood and she eventually became one herself in 1821. so i think that sort of capacity for religious authority also informed her commitment to
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women's rights. she got married to her husband james mott in 1811, and in the 18 teens and early 1820s there was nothing necessarily to indicate she would become a great activist. you know, she eventually had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood. she taught in a quaker school. she became a quaker minister but none of this was unusual. i think the key moment in lieu cree sha not's life that turned her into an activist was the hiksite controversy in the society of friends that occurred in the 1820s and by 1827 the society of friends in the united states had split into two competing hostile groups known as the hicksite and the -- she wash named after their leader
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elias hicks. they believed the leadership of the society of friends had become complacent on the issue of slavery. they'd done away with their ownership of slaves long before, and they viewed that as enough, right, to have removed themselves from direct contact. but elias hicks and lucretia mott believed you had to sever all ties from slavery and for wealthy merchants in philadelphia that was asking quite a lot. they all had economic ties to the south. they all dealt in cotton and even james mott, he struggled for a while to find a profession, to find a career that would support his family and eventually he succeeds, but it's as a cotton merchant. and so lucretia mott puts a lot of pressure on him, actually, to give up that business and
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eventually he became a wool merchant by 1830. that was a radicalizing issue for her. speaking on women's issues and anti-slavery when she became a minister and that was a formative period for her. but i think in the early 1830s in philadelphia, philadelphia had the largest population of free blacks in the north, lucretia mott would have known them and interacted with them in free produce societies, for example, and probably tried to speak in african-american churches and otherwise connected with them. and there were a lot of race riots in philadelphia in the early 1830s. so the intensity of northern racism was very visible to her. and so when she attended the founding meeting of the american anti-slavery society in 1833, and then thereafter founded the philadelphia female anti-slavery
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society, she believed that their goal should be not only fighting slavery, but also racial prejudice. it was basically a two-pronged a i proech. one of the things she did frequently whenever she met a slave holder, you know as she did when she was traveling abroad, or around the united states she would often speak in delaware, virginia, you know, slave holding states, kentucky she spoke. she would engage. she would try to convince that slave holder that slavery was wrong, you know, and whether they were being polite or, you know, just tolerating this lady, you know, poking them in the ribs, she seemed to have had some individual personal success, you know, that she said, oh, this one slave holder i met told me to send them some pamphlets when i got home, i'm going to send them some pamphlets, you know, so i think that's, you know, again she was not afraid of confrontation and engagement and she was going to
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try to persuade people that slavery was wrong, you know, no matter where she was and who they were. lucretia mott was not particularly interested in politics or the political process but she did speak on multiple occasions in washington, d.c., and at one point she was supposed to speak in congress, but because she would not agree not to talk about slavery, if that's clear, they wouldn't let her speak and so instead she spoke in a unitarian church, and all sorts of politicians, including southern congressmen attended and of course she spoke about slavery because that was always what she was compelled to speak about. but during that particular trip to washington, d.c. in 1843 she also met president tick tyler and his line about lucretia mott was, you know, i think i'll turn mr. calhoun over to you. you know, you can negotiate with john c. calhoun for me.
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so that was sort of the level of her ferocity and really intransigence on the issue of slavery. lucretia mott first met elizabeth katy stanton in 1840. elizabeth katy stanton was younger than her, 22 years younger than her. and when they met, they met in sort of unlikely place, which was at the world's anti-slavery convention in london, england in 1840. so you have, you know, two americans meeting in london. and they -- you know, they had other connections. but lucretia mott was there as a delegate from various american anti-slavery society. so she was officially there to attend the worlds anti-slavery convention. elizabeth katy stanton was there on her honeymoon, just married an abolitionist named henry stanton, it was a european tour
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versus a political journey as it was for lucretia mott but the two women, i think, instantly connected and elizabeth katy stanton later described lucretia mott as a revelation of womanhood, i had never met a woman like this before and i didn't know it was possible for women to be so outspoken and independent so she really became an admirer of lucretia mott. elizabeth katy stanton referred to lucretia mott as the moving spirit of the seneca falls convention in 1848 but it was actually a label that lucretia mott rejected she said, oh, no, elizabeth, you should claim that for yourself. it was really your idea. but, you know t fact is that it was the fact that lucretia mott was in the area but the convention was held and her presence was advertised to draw attendees. so her sister lived in auburn, new york, not far from seneca falls so she would come up to
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central new york regularly. when she came up in 1848 she was actually engaged in a number of different activities. she attended an annual quaker meeting, the yearly meeting. she traveled to ontario, canada to visit former slaves there, american slaves who had fled to canada. she went to the seneca reservation, and witnessed them writing their constitution. so she's actually engaging in all these very interesting activities in the summer of 1848. native american rights, african-american rights. and then women's rights. so before the seneca falls convention in july 1848 she meets up with her old friend e-lizw e-elizabeth katy stanton, and other areas. she decided to -- social and religious condition and they advertise that lucretia mott will be there and she will be
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the principal speaker. i think the public perception of her is very interesting. one newspaper once called her a grizzled caesar of the movement, that she's somehow shed her femininity by engaging in this kind of acted vichl. but the women's rights movement and the anti-slavery movement held her up as a paragon of womanhood and they would basically say, see, lucretia mott is an example that you can do both. you can be an excellent wife, mother, grandmother, and you can also have a public life. you could also be an activist. i think for her the activism and the family life blended seamlessly because her husband was also an abolitionist, and active in a lot of the same organizations that she was. you know, he attended the first women's rights convention at seneca falls and chaired the convention. and her children also became involved in the philadelphia female anti-slavery society, and
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other organizations for women's rights and women's suffrage in philadelphia. so in many ways her activism was a family affair and there wasn't a lot of conflict. at her funeral someone said there was silence, as is appropriate for a quaker funeral, but someone said who can speak, the preacher is dead. that sort of -- how much a void had been left by lucretia mott's death because she always had something to say. and i think that's made her in some ways too good, right, she's become, you know, almost what elizabeth katy stanton made her, a kind of saint. and, you know, in actuality she was a deeply radical person for her time and was not afraid to speak her beliefs. >> in 1869 in new york city
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elizabeth katy stanton and susan b. anthony founded the national women's suffrage association to advocate for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. however, much of the women's rights movements early progress came in the west where states and territories adopted more favorable rights for women. in oregon abigail scott duniway who established a -- after her husband's business failed. >> benjamin duniway was a very good husband and father to the children. he didn't have the maybe the level of business skill that somebody should have in managing a farm, and because of his kindness and generosity he co-signed a loan for a friend, and that friend defaulted on that loan, and so as a result the duniways lost their farm.
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that was in the mid-60s, i believe. after that benjamin was involved in a farming accident so he became disabled. it therefore fell to abigail to be the breadwinner for the family. she did some teaching again. but eventually decided to move down to albany, oregon, a little town further south in the valley and she set up a millnerry shop, a hat shop. and apparently she was quite successful in that business. she even traveled to san francisco to get supplies for her business. but an important thing happened when she interacted with the women who came into her hat shop, she became aware of the difficulties that women led in their lives. she realized they had no life, no standing in the community,
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they could not own property. they were dependent on their husbands, and their husband's good will to lead a good life. and she saw a lot of women who were suffering because of that. so at one point she realized, well, if women could vote, then they could enact change themselves. and change laws. to benefit women and all women. and all people. and so she turned her attention to the suffrage movement. she moved her family back up to portland so this was in the early 1870s, and her first effort was to start her own newspaper. and that was called the new northwest. so this was the vehicle that she used to communicate about her equal suffrage efforts. and i believe the whole family was -- or many members of her family were involved in
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producing this newspaper. one of her sons was a printer. so it was kind of like a family enterprise. so she communicated through the northwest, that was an important part of her developing skill, and becoming a suffrage leader in the northwest. but she also communicated with national suffrage leaders. and in 1871 she coordinated a visit by susan b. anthony out to the west, and she traveled with her on a speaking tour in california. so in very short order, i think it's pretty remarkable, in very short order she all the sudden had a significant standing and presence in the suffrage movement. harvey scott was her brother. of course he traveled with the family on the oregon trail.
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apparently he had been abusive to his siblings, and there are accounts of him beating up the sisters when they were growing up. and he kind of continued that tradition when he -- when the family came to oregon, eventually he became an editor at the portland oregonian, the largest newspaper in oregon and one of the largest in the pacific northwest. and he was an anti-suffragist. he wrote editorials against it, he continued to beat up on abigail even as they were adults. there's -- in the 1900 campaign i believe suffrage for women would have passed had it not been for harvey scott's editorials in the portland oregonian. because if you tabulate the number of votes cast primarily
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in multnoma, what suk sunk the passage of suffrage that year. here's a letter, abigail is writing to her son clyde, and so this is the 1900 campaign, and they were waiting for the returns to come in. last night after anxious waiting for runs during which oregonian and your mad uncle have -- came to me with the cheering news that the returns showed 45% of the vote to be in the affirmative. with the four counties we depend most upon to be heard from. and then she says i was quite sick till i got some returns besides the awful indecent abuse of the oregonian. now i shall set the coward up and i think she's referring to her brother harvey.
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one of the interesting things about the effort to pass suffrage in oregon, and duniway's involvement in that effort was the change that came about in the way that measures could be presented to the citizenry for voting. and initially when duniway started out on her campaign work, she used what she called the still hunt. and that was to quietly get in good with the men who had been elected to the oregon legislature. and to curry their favor, and she did it quietly. because she didn't want to disturb the opposition. and that resulted in the measure for women's suffrage to be presented on the ballot. and each time it was defeated. in oregon suffrage was presented
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six times, more than any other state. but eventually during the progressive movement, and in particular a person named william uran wanted to change that process, and he advocated for the initiative and referendum system which all the states now use. it's called the oregon system. and that way people could gain support for measures by getting enough signatures. and then it would be presented to the voters. so by the time suffrage was passed in oregon, duniway's technique of the still hunt was not effective because it was not
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necessary. and eventually there were many other women who came forward to carry on the campaigns. one woman in particular, a physician in portland, esther poll lovejoy spearheaded the effort and it was largely through their effort and the use of more modern campaign techniques like mass mailings, store front campaign shops, marching in parades, more radical techniques like that, that really pushed it over, and managed to pass suffrage in 1912 in oregon. when suffrage was passed in 1912, duniway was often bedridden during the 1912 campaign when suffrage was finally passed and so she wasn't really much effective, but
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people -- she had been working for suffrage for 42 years by that time. you know, she had devoted her life to this cause. and people vetted her, she was celebrated when suffrage finally passed which was really great, yeah. a lot of people sent congratulatory tell kbram grams to her, mrs. abigail scott duniway, congratulations on the triumph of justice. the medford equal justice association beg to offer you the congratulations and assure crow that it is making every effort to win the franchise at the coming election that your many days of effort for the cause of women may be crowned with success. so this was actually sent before the vote, this was october, and the vote was in november.
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we sincerely congratulate the women of oregon upon their new citizenship. this wonderful victory must help us to success in the near future from the cleveland women's suffrage party. bless the day and send love and congratulations to our dearest trail breaker who has made its dawning possible. you know, the congratulations poured in, and, you know, it's just so wonderful that she lived long enough to see suffrage passed in oregon and she voted. she was able to vote in multnoma county, which is pretty special. we have in the collection this scrapbook that duniway kept during her years as a suffrage leader. it has some photographs in it but mainly it includes e-femara about her lectures, also includes things like some
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correspondence and newspaper clippings that she kept. and this is also a really great resource for any researcher who wants to study this topic about the history of suffrage in oregon, or about duniway's life. >> in her pursuit for suffrage in oregon abigail scott duniway traveled throughout the northwest to meet with suffragists, one stop was with daniel and elizabeth bigelow, working to bring suffrage to washington in 1910, two years ago before oregon. >> we're at the bigelow house, one of the city's oldest homes, built in 1860, built by daniel and elizabeth white bigelow who
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came over the oregon trail, when they arrived in olympia, he set up his law practice and he was a great orator as well. called upon to give the 4th of july oration in olympia in july of 1842. well, washington did become a separate territory from oregon in 1853. and daniel bigelow was elected to the first legislative session held here in olympia. we know that daniel and ann elizabeth bigelow were active in the campaign for voting rights for women and this is the chair where susan b. anthony sat when she came to the house in 1871. she and abigail scott duniway the oregon suffragist or on a swing through the pacific northwest and she had dinner here at the bigelow house, we
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know that from her diary where she called mrs. begelow splendid. at the time daniel bigelow was serving. he said, if i understand the principles of self-government man has no more right to say that woman shall or shall not vote than woman has to say the similar of man. as a matter of natural right i know of no valid argument to deny franchise to woman any more than to man. in our form of government the more universal the right of franchise the greater the security to individual rights. in 1871 susan b. anthony addressed the territorial legislature, and she and the bigelows along a number of of other local suffragists worked together to form the first women's suffrage association and they held their convention here in olympia in november of 1871.
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this really set a wonderful framework for advocacy for women to gain the right to vote and they came to fruition in 1883 when the territorial legislature enacted women's right to vote in washington and it was only women inaway and utah that had the right to vote after the civil war, before women in washington. it was quite challenging, as you might imagine, there was concern that women would vote for prohibition, besides having the right to vote they could also serve on juries and there were a serious of cases that became before the territorial supreme court, first upholding the right to vote and then in 1887 women's right to vote was invalidated on a technicality, in 1910 women in washington permanently achieved the right to vote and were just the fifth state in the union where women had the right to vote. >> this year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving
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women the right to vote. wyoming was the 27th state to pass that amendment. however, decades earlier, wyoming is a territory passed the first women's suffrage laws in the u.s. our visit to laramie explains why this newly formed territory was a prime spot for this historic legislation. we are in the women's hallway of the laramie plains museum in the ivanson mansion. in this hallway we begin to tell you the story of why wyoming was so unique, granting women this right to vote, hold property, and elected office. december 10th of 1869 our wyoming territorial legislature dictated this and it was signed by governor campbell, granting women this act, really so remarkable that we have a copy of this, they do have it at the capital, but we have this copy that is so extraordinary to see
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that writing, that fanciful writing that said what was happening in the west. because of this act, december 10th, 1869, giving women full rights, alongside men, we had the first woman voter in the world, louisa gardener swain, we had the first woman bailiff, martha at kinson, the first woman on a jury, all of wyoming's women able to be in the legislature, this was mary bellamay, justice of the peace out of city, nellie tailoe ross, first woman governor in the world. suffrage act of december 10th of 1869. we have a few more mentions of women who were important, and here we have a great thing for
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thyra, her friends were worried, she was caught in the suffrage act iddiasy. she writes about it and says my friends are eastern girls, who judge by english sufficient a jets -- while a woman who holds off who would be -- a county office and assured them she was as nice and modest and womanly as any of them had probably much shyer. they had to take my word for it but assured me couldn't possibly stay so. you would undoubtedly become bold and mannish in a very short time. when we leave this hallway we're going to go into the foyer and into the salon which has been set up as a defense of suffrage. we're going into the drawing room in the victorian age where
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think withdrew for special events. we are showcasing a defense of the suffrage act. we have the exhibit set up here in the ivanson's drawing room. they had their adopted daughter maggie, this home is their -- the largest artifact we have, and their place of residence after 24 years when they first came to laramie, they arrived on the first train may 10th of 1868 when there was nothing there, made their fortune and built this house 24 years later. we have salvaged this house and in here we tell laramie's history, like this suffrage act. so 1869 we've got december 10th, 1869 the wyoming territorial legislature passing this law, that disgruntled a lot of people. what's -- why is that happening in the west? why is it happening in wyoming territory? and at the time we had just become wyoming territory from dakota territory.
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so we were here, and that's legislature, one of the reasons they did it, we believe, is they needed to attract women to the west. this was a place of adventurers and cowboys and railroad workers, hammering out a railroad, you know, we had the central pacific coming in from california, the union pacific. and it was fast and furious. and we have we had crazy living conditions out here. and the legislature wanted to attract those women -- women to come, be part of this adventure, and so they gave them full rights. full rights, i'm telling you it was full voting rights. it was holding property rights. it was full political office rights. there's no other state that could claim that, no other territory that could claim that. you know, north dakota and utah liked to believe they had the first woman voter, and they may have, but they voted there restricted elections, wyoming women never had to do that. they were on the same terms with men. which is quite extraordinary.
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so in here we have maybe elizabeth katy stanton coming to the ivanson's salon to listen about the defense of suffrage because what happened, it was passed in 1869. in 18 # 71 wyoming was giving -- getting so much grief that the legislature was saying, maybe we should rescind this act. steven downey, and this is an exhibit of steven speaking about this possibly in this salon. speaking about the defense of the act because in 1871 people were giving wyoming territory such grief about having an act where women had the same rights as men, and downey stood there, wrote a very remarkable speech and spoke to the wyoming public about how important this was, that we keep this, that we retain this, and it was retained
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in 1871 by one vote in the legislature. then fast forward, let's fast forward 17 years, wyoming territory is wanting to become a state. washington, d.c. says no one else in the world or in the united states is giving women these kind of rights. you need to rescind that act. and then we'll let you become a state. wyoming said, huh, don't care, then we'll remain a territory, we will not become a state unless we can hold all of these rights that our women have had. when you talk about that wyoming had the first woman voter in 1869, the first women on a jury in 1870, first woman bailiff, first women justice of the peace, all of those could happen because wyoming had given women that right. so it is remarkable. it's a fact that nobody ever knows about. and how great is it that we can tell this story.
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this is our 150th anniversary. of that gift to women and to men by the men of wyoming territory. while the national american women's suffrage association would continue to focus on gaining women's suffrage fi state level the national woman's party wanted a constitutional amendment ensuring women's suffrage throughout the u.s. their strategy would include a two-year protest in front of the white house from 1917 to 1919. one of those protesters was a 23-year-old from billings, montana, hazel hunkins hallanan. >> he's 87, a tiny gray haired woman with a feminist vocabulary, a notorious arrest record and a surprisingly sharp tongue. hazel hunkins grew up in colorado, came to billings in 19
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03 and becomes one of the better students of billings senior high, voted most popular, second smartest and third most conceited. in 1908 she makes her way off to college, gets a chemistry degree, and works in labs for a period of time until 1916, she comes back home to care for her ailing mother. and when her mother starts feeling better, she starts applying for more jobs for chemistry labs. and she's told several times, you're qualified, but we really don't want a woman working in our labs. she decided, that's what i'm going to do. i'm going to get involved with women's fights. so one of the first things that hazel hunkins and her comrades did was protest in front of the white house for several years. they protested in front of the white house, carrying signs, demanding equal rights and suffrage for women. at one point they had 2,000
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anti-suffragist protesters against two dozen women protesting for their rights. these women and anti-suffrage protesters tore their signs away. the next day they would come back again. hazel brings another sign saying, we want the right to vote. then they would be arrested. so, these two or three dozen women kept this vigilant activity up in front of the white house. basically within eye shot of president wilson, who they had hoped would create national suffrage. you know, we didn't hear of her or know her story here in billings, montana. but once we started looking at the national press, the san francisco examiner had stories about hazel hunkins of wyoming lit watch fires below president wilson's window at the white house. and "the washington post" would write stories about hazel hunkins climbed a picket in front of the white house and had
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her sign tore away from her and arrested. the same story is covered in the billings gazette and it says, billings woman, innocent victim. the coverage she was getting in billings was completely different than what the national press was getting. initially the press welcomed them. they said, isn't this sweet. here's this cute little girl from montana, age 23, she's smart. but once world war i kicked in in april of 1917, these protesters were looked at completely different. what she said to defend herself is, we see all these soldiers being sent overseas to fight for democracy. we're just doing the same thing here in our own country. the women with the national women's party are fighting for democracy on our own soil. finally when the passage of the 19th amendment went through in 1920, hazel hunkins then completely transforms herself and becomes a different type of
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feminist. she actually marries charles hallanan, a chicago reporter. mr. hallanan and her move to england and she lives in london for the next 50 years and becomes the leader of the six-point group, a feminist organization out of england. she's the only american-born leader of the group in that whole 50 years. in 1977 she comes back to the u.s. to fight for the equal rights amendment. and in 1977 she ends up marching in the protest. she's called a hell-raiser at age 87. she ends up as a rose garden ceremony with president carter to sign for national women's day. he supports their activities and their causes. so, this is a life-long process for her. so, you know, it's fun when i tell this story, i could stop at the equal rights amendment, 1920, and say, this is a life worth looking at.
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but then you add 50 years of feminist leadership in england and i could stop then and say, this is a life worth looking at. but then i can take people into the 1970s and talk about her work with the equal rights amendment and that fight there. she was not afraid to speak her mind. in the end, she chose to be buried with her husband at mt. view cemetery here in billings. >> in the early years of the suffrage movement, an 8-year-old emma smith devoe would attend a speech by susan b. anthony, inspiring her to carry the fight into the 20th century. devoe would play an important part in the suffrage in several states, including washington in 1910. >> washington's importance in the national suffrage effort comes by the fact that we were the first state in the 20th
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century and followed almost a 20-year lag between states adopting their own suffrage amendment and it takes a certain number of states to pass a national amendment to the constitution. we were the fifth state. all of the first states, the first about six were located here in the west. and washington became a pivotal state making that leap into the 20th century. and after we passed it in 1910, there was a domino effect across the country. immediately oregon passed it in 1911 followed by california, and then moved to the dakotas, nebraska, montana, and then progressed across to new york in 1919. and then, of course, the national amendment passes in 1920. so, you could call us a big turning point in the effort to gain suffrage for women in the
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united states. in 1848, the big event that began the suffrage movement, however, did happen in new york. that was the women's convention in seneca falls led by susan b. anthony, among other leaders. and interestingly enough, right after that, she began -- susan b. anthony began a whirlwind trip to territorial areas of the united states and states to advocate for women's rights. and to vote. and one of the early leaders in the 20th century in washington state saw her in 1848 as an 8-year-old. barnstorming through illinois. and that is emma smith devoe who ends up becoming a leader of the washington state suffrage movement and lived and worked right here in tacoma, near our history museum.
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she saw susan b. anthony in central illinois when she was 8 years old. and susan b. anthony asked, who in the audience believes women should have the right to vote? as an 8-year-old, she stood up. and that was a memorable experience that definitely has a connection to our state, from 1848 right through to 1910. right about the same time as the women's convention in seneca falls, women and men, of course, families who were traveling west, these were hearty people. at that time, about 1850, congress passed the oregon donation land claim laws. anybody who came to the oregon territory before 1849 got outright 640 acres of land. after 1850 they cut that in half to 320 acres, but the interesting thing is, that that
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amount of land, half of it was in the woman's name. 320 acres were given to a couple. if you were a single man, you got half of that. if you were a single woman, you got half of that. but half of that acreage was always in the woman's name. so, right away women have land claim ownership. and that was an important part of the oregon trail era. by 1853 washington becomes a separate territory from oregon. and in the first territorial legislative meeting, which was in olympia, which, of course, becomes our capital city eventually, the early parties -- early delegates nominate -- wanted to pass women's suffrage in washington. that was part of the platform for the first legislative session in that territory ial congress for washington but it
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got voted down. but it was brought up right away and there were very early men in the legislature who advocated for women's suffrage. well, fast forward to the 1880s and washington is working very hard at the effort to become a state, which is achieved in 1889. but in the 1880s women in the territory win the right to vote in 1883. now, immediately they start to vote for a more progressive agenda in the territorial legislature. and they also unseat some of the more corrupt leaders in communities like the seattle mayor who was known to have influence in -- with the saloons, prostitution and gambling. they vote him out of office. so you can imagine that suffrage
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is not proving that popular with a lot of people. and while the legislature, the legislature in those days before we were a state could vote yea or nay and pass suffrage. it did not take an amendment to the constitution. and women argued that the first territorial constitution said he or male in a lot of places, and it should be he or she or women or men. and they voted for it in 1883. it passed. but who got it rescinded in 1888? the territorial supreme court who was opposed to women voting, and one particular justice really, really opposed it. and opposition came because men did not want women serving on juries. and that is where the division
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came up. and the territorial supreme court, short version is, they voted to rescind -- or not voted. they passed a decision that removed women's right to vote. so, by 1986, emma smith devoe, that little girl who stood up for susan b. anthony in 1848, has relocated here with her husband. she has in the interim years been a paid staffer working on behalf of suffrage and temperance throughout the midwest. by paid, she was paid, i think, $100 a month by the national american women's suffrage association. so, she comes out here to become the leader of the washington state suffrage movement by 1906. her husband works for the great northern railroad, so she has a salary and he gets her railroad
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passes. so she can travel all over on a free railroad ticket, which was a great advantage. so, they moved to tacoma and she along with others establishes the wash waington equal suffrag association, which she's president of. and i thought it was interesting that her message becomes the most powerful to counteract this view that washington women don't want suffrage. they really work hard organizing through 1905, '06, '07, '08. and we know that we want to get the suffrage bill passed. and so we have to get an amendment out there to the voters. and it has to be passed by two-thirds of a majority of voters, male voters, in the state of washington to pass. so we have a combination of important women coming together. emma smith devoe, our
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tacoma-based leader of the washington state suffrage group, joins up with this very colorful woman named may arcwright hutton. she was a camp cook in the silver mines in northern idaho. she married a railroad engineer by the name of hutton, and they buy an interest in the hercules mine. well, the hercules mine becomes the most profitable silver mine of that era in idaho. and they become millionaires almost overnight. she is a very colorful figure. emma comes out of the temperance, abolitionist suffrage movement, and you have may who comes to this from a colorful past.
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and together they ascend on olympia and the legislature, that is all men, of course, and they work together in different ways to get the legislature to approve an amendment for the ballot. so, in january of 1909, the house votes for the amendment and it passes by, i think, 10 to 20 votes. and then in february the senate votes. the washington state senate passes by a bigger majority. and on february 25, 1909, the governor signs a bill to create the opportunity for washatonians to vote for the suffrage for women in washington state. so, there's -- that vote is going to come up before
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washington men in november of 1910. so, the suffrage amendment passes on november 8, 1910. and washington becomes the fifth state in the union to pass suffrage. the people coming west were people who were probably risk-takers, who were looking to break out of some conventional life that they might have experienced in the east. and a lot of suffragettes came from the east and worked hard because they saw the opportunity. since the seneca falls convention in 1848, 71 years would pass before congress proposed a 19th amendment to the u.s. constitution, prohibiting the denial of voting rights based on gender. the amendment would require ratification by 36 states.
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we august 1920, 35 states ratified the amendment with the tennessee legislature set to vote on the matter. on the eve of the vote, one young legislature received a persuasive letter from his mother. >> this is a letter that was written by phoebe burn to her son, who was a brand-new legislator in 1920. he was 24 years old. he had just been elected to the legislature. and the suffrage put the push to ratify the suffrage amendment was coming to a close. suffrage leaders had eight states to choose from and they thought tennessee was the best bet. they had a lot of supporters and a lot of people who were extremely hostile. and it's not dated but it has a postmark on it of august 17, 1920. and the vote was just -- i think it was august 20th, just a short time later. the state senate had approved the ratifications.
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it was like 25-4. i mean, it was really strong. the governor was for ratification and the house was for it. it was a tie. it was really a seesaw. about 49-49 votes. harry had -- was 24. he was studying law. he was just getting his start in life. his mother was -- his mother was a widow. his mother, a brother and sister back in tennessee where their home was. so, he was in nashville as a newbie in the state legislature. he was reading law with a man who was extremely -- who came out as extremely anti-suffrage and he was on -- he was unwilling to take a stand. they thought he was kind of an either/or. they weren't sure but they thought he was going to maybe vote no. he got this six-page letter from his mother right before the vote
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in august 1920. and she -- it was a newsy letter, handwritten on a tablet with six pages written in pencil. in the course of the letter, it wasn't just about politics. it wasn't just about to ask him to vote for suffrage, but in the course of the letter she twice asked him to vote for suffrage. i particularly like this passage right here where she says, hooray, vote foresuffrage and don't leave them in doubt. i noticed chandler's speech. it was very bitter. i've been watching to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet. and chandler was the man he was reading law with who was also in the legislature. he was really kind of in a pickle of a situation. when he came into the vote, there was a lot of parliamentary maneuvering the day the final vote took place. and he voted in a way that looked like he was going to be a no vote until the final roll
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call was taken. it was going to be a close loss or a tie or a win. they really didn't know until he voted aye. when he voted yes, then they got hopeful. there was one other vote at the end of the alphabet they had to get. when that man voted yes, it was pandemonium in the legislature. i like this little part of the letter right here. towards the end of the letter she said, don't forget to be a good boy and help mrs. thomas' cat with her rats. is she the one that put the rat in ratification? ha. no more from mother. love mother. this was a cartoon that was going around at the time. katherine cat was the leader of the people pushing for suffrage. and she was in nashville at the he hermitage hotel. and the cartoon they were putting around the country, she had a broom chasing the r.a.t. that was separated from the rest of the word ratification and she
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was trying to shoo those together. it was rumored it had been destroyed because it was so folksy that they thought maybe his people had said they destroyed it because it wasn't really a formal letter written in ink and proper and all that, but it wasn't. and harry burns' son, harry t. burns jr., wanted this letter to be put here so people could have access to it and know it did exist. for a while, people said it didn't exist. for a while, people said it never was real or wasn't even written. when the 75th anniversary of suffrage came around and people focused on tennessee, we were able to bring it out and show people, yes, it really did exist and we have it along with all the other material that harry saved about ratification. he was right in the center of the storm. c-span's cities tour travels the country exploring the
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american story. we bring you the history and literary life on a different city on american history tv. to watch videos on anyplaces we've been, go to and follow us on twitter @c-spancities. you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3, explore our nation's past. c-span3, created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekends on c-sp c-span3. tonight we visit independence national historic park in philadelphia to see congress hall, the u.s. congress met in the building from 1790 to 1800 and ratified the bill of rights there. our guide is national park service ranger matthew eiffel.
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watch beginning at 8:00 eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3, go inside a different cleenl classroom and hear about topics ranging from american revolution, civil rights and u.s. presidents to 9/11. >> thanks for your patients and for logging into class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbecev did most of the work to change the soviet union, but reagan met him halfway. reagan encouraged him. reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press, which we'll get to later, i should mention, madison originally called it freedom of the use of the press, and it is, indeed, freedom to print things and publish things. it is not a freedom for what we now refer to institutionally as the press. >> lectures in history on


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