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tv   Lectures in History Womens Suffrage Movement  CSPAN  November 11, 2021 10:52am-11:34am EST

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>> cox is committed to providing eligible families access to the internet. bridging the digital divide, one connected and engaged student at a time. cox. bringing us closer. >> cox, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. up next, another class from our series "lectures in history." >> so throughout the seminar you've been thinking about images during this 19th century period and specifically today, we're going to think about the way images really constructed gender roles, particularly in the 19th century, and the ways that activists used images to shape, alter, change gender roles during this time period too. so i would like actually to start off with, just to think about the ways these images are part of our culture today.
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and one is the ways that portraits like susan anthony's portrait which we see in this 2017 women's march parade, we see susan b. anthony's portrait, she's the closest head to us with the circle glasses. we see this march down pennsylvania avenue and this emphasis on this very celebrated 19th century women's rights leader. and we'll talk today about how she became such a famous suffragette, not only in the 19th century but also today. and i want to also think back to another parade in 1913, where we have the same street, washington, dc, pennsylvania avenues. one of the reasons why i'm pointing to this image and how it connects to our current, you know, political and social movement culture, is because of this image that was very popular in june of 2020, which is
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related to the back lives matter movement. it's brianna noble riding on a horse in oakland, california. and this image became a viral sensation, perhaps you all saw it. but there's really interesting similarity between these two women who are riding horses in these urban areas as symbols of these political causes that really gives us a sense of how the similarities between these suffrage images that were so famous, of esmeralda holland from 1913. brianna actually became a spokesperson for xfinity. this image ended up not only selling, promoting a particular idea, but also selling a particular product. another recent protest image that you all might remember was this back lives matter being
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painted in washington, dc. and you might also know that suffragists were actually the first group to protest right outside the white house, to pick picket the white house in 1917. they made the space around the white house such an important space for political protests. and so 100 years later, just over 100 years later, it remains that way today. and if you've ever been to washington, dc, you've probably seen someone outside the white house protesting something. and it's because of these, you know, famous protests, these famous images of these famous protests that we've gotten to that place where the place outside the white house is so important to a political movement. another image that has probably crossed your news media consumption over the past several years are images of women wearing white,
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particularly leading political figures. this is a group from a state of the union address, all wearing white. and they're wearing white to recall the suffragists in particular. so actually the suffragists were white, as we saw with esmeralda hollins. they wore white at a lot of their parades and processions. they did it for two reasons. one was to emphasize their morality, their virtue, to suggest they were kind of pure and all of the kind of connotations that white might have for us. the other reason they did it is because they wanted to show up in back and white photographs. so in these back and white photographs, people marching in the streets, various grays in the backgrounds, they knew that women in white would show up better in back and white photographs. and they knew when those black and white photographs were
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recreated in half tones to be printed in newspapers, they would show up even better. you see women in white seated in congress at the state of the union, and even in this photograph here, they do tend to stand out. that is one of the reasons why suffragists chose white to begin with. in a lot of ways, a lot of the imagery that the suffragists really created throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries is still part of our modern political culture. and i'm actually going to go back a little bit further into the 18th century just to start us off, and set us up for the visual conversations that are really taking place during the 19th century. so i would like to start us off with phillip daw. this is a political cartoon from 1755. it's a mezzotint. he was a political cartoonivity,
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probably -- political cartoon ist. this is a group of women who signed a petition that they aren't going to purchase tea. you can look closely at this scene. a lot of my images are from the library of congress. if you do a quick search on their website, you can zoom in on them much more closely than you can on this video. but you can see that this is not a flattering picture. so there's a woman holding a gavel who has this large nose, very unflattering features. there's another woman holding a punchbowl which we know is not filled with fruit punch, it's filled with alcohol. there's a group pouring out tea canisters in the background. all the women in the room are ignoring the child who is under the table. these women are supposed to be
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caring for that child. and the idea here is that these women are ignoring their essential duties as mothers, as caregivers, in order to participate in this petition signing. the other detail i really want you to pay attention to is the back woman who is behind the woman with the gavel. she's holding a quill and an inkwell. she's not only supporting the women, she's also looking very eager to sign herself, she looks interested in the process, interested in participating. so this image is doing at least two things that i want to really point out to us. one is it's challenging the patriarchy, it's challenging the gender hierarchy, it's suggesting that if women participate in politics, it will really turn topsy-turvy the gender roles that colonists are
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experiencing in american society in the 18th century, right? it will make women more masculine, it will mean women are abandoning their families and ignoring their children. the enslaved woman we see here emphasizes this petition, this scene is challenging the racial hierarchy, it's challenging white supremacy remember it's challenging the dominance of slavery which is a really central economic driver in the british colonies during the late 18th century. so the idea here is to laugh at these women, to mock them, to not take them seriously. and it's also expressing anxieties about whether this rebellion that is starting in the colonies might not just challenge the british government, the british empire as they know it, but might also be part of this challenge of gender and racial hierarchies. and this kind of representation
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actually doesn't change much. so i want to see kind of the similarities of this conversation over time. so as you know, by the 1840s, women's rights activists are petitioning on a much broader scale, not only for the right to vote, but also for property rights, to have better access to education, to be participants and leaders within the church. so a range of issues. by 1850, we have the very first national women's rights convention in worcester, massachusetts. and this is happening, this print was completed in 1851, so just a year after that. so by that time americans throughout the country are very aware of this rising, growing women's rights movement and its vibrance, its increasing power in the united states. and yet the images are changing very little. this is about 75 years after that previous image. you see a woman in the center who is mrs. turkey. she's smoking. she's wearing bloomers.
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she's showing off her ankles, which may not seem very scandalous to us in the 21st century but would have been remarkable in 1851. she has her hand fairly condescendingly placed on this man's head who is hunched over, kind of looking like an older woman, mending clothes, during menial tasks. both of them are ignoring the child who is crying in the front of the room. you know, his banner says "no more papa and mama." in the background, we have these two women both holding banners as well, also wearing bloomers. one says "no more basement and kitchen." and i think she's intending to represent a servant, a working class woman. and the other woman is a back woman who is smoking a pipe, and she has a sign protesting slavery. so we have this scene that's very much kind of in the same world of the previous one. it's suggesting that if women gain rights, if women win power,
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they're going to abandon their domestic duties. they're going to force men to become more womanly. and it's going to lead to other changes including challenging the class hierarchy like you see with this domestic servant, as well as the racial hierarchies and the system of slavery. all these things are wrapped up in this 1851 print. and this is the kind of -- this is the moment when there are a lot of these, in an incredibly broad scale. we know this is the moment when newspapers are on the rise. these engravings are ever more popular. so i want to give you a sevenths breadth of these by showing you this other one from 1851, from "harper's new monthly magazine." very similar tropes, women smoking, wearing men's clothing, women -- such as the top hat. women wearing bloomers. i should note these bloomer
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skirts are very short. in reality a lot of women who wore bloomers, the skirts were down to their ankles. another woman off to the right side pulling up her bloomer as pants, showing off her ankle again. and we also in this image have two women with their backs toward us who are actually linking arms, giving us a suggestion are so aligned with each other and promoting the rights of women that they're romantically interested in women as well and fully abandon men in this version of their reality. and so i want to kind of connect this to some of the civil war imagery you've probably been talking about in many of your other conversations, because by the time we get to the civil war era, the mid-19th century, this association between women's dress with weakness, with
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frivolity, with the kind of person you don't take very seriously, politically or otherwise, besides part of a meme related to the capture of jefferson davis after the civil war, because he is caught wearing women's clothing. and this becomes an incredibly popular i believe to reproduce in a variety of ways. so, for example, here are some cards de visites. if you do some searching you can find many more examples of this. this joke only works if you think of men in women's clothing as being this kind of signifier that you are less than, that you are weaker, that worth mocking, that it's laughable, right? so it's the signifier that he is no longer a powerful person when we see him in women's clothing
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like this. so this is the way that, you know, even women's rights imagery, when we see them wearing bloomers, it's suggesting they were wearing masculine clothing, that they are more powerful. this is the way clothing acts as signifiers of their power and their gender roles during this time period. so i want to jump, this is right around the same time period as the last couple of images we looked at, 1869. so just after the civil war. and as you all know, in the immediate aftermath of the civil war, people are considering what to do next. by 1869, americans are debating the 15th amendment. it's about to be ratified. 15th amendment of course prohibits voter discrimination based on race and effectively enfranchises black men. and so in this moment people are also wondering should women get the vote too. and so this image by courier and
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ives, a lithograph, actually suggests what will happen if women win the vote. and it looks to all of us very similar to what we've been seeing, right? we see women in slightly more traditional clothing, but they are wearing kind of frivolous, outlandish versions of that clothing. their hair is far larger than their heads. there are extravagant bows. it's really to emphasize they are too interested in fashion and not practical enough to be proper, you know, voters. one of the kind of favorite details in the scene is the vote for the celebrated man tamers using sharp tongue. this really explicitly says a lot about what they think about women in politics at the time and refers to what a lot of people say about women in politics even in the 21st century. the other detail about this scene that i want to make sure we point out is this man
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carrying a baby, which is a very popular trope that's repeated over and over again in these anti-women's-rights images. and we see this woman telling him that he needs to care for the baby and this man is just absolutely appalled that he has to take care of it. these anti-women's-rights images, as you can see, this is a century after the very first historical image i showed you. they've remained fairly consistent over time and they really do, through the end of the suffragist movement in the 1920s, with the passage of the constitutional amendment. so you can see why suffragists like sojourner truth and elizabeth cady stanton worked very hard to challenge these ideas. so one of the things you can
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probably already tell about these anti-women's-rights images is that they're not coordinated, right? these publishers, these editors, these artists, they aren't in a group together all deciding to coordinate an attack against the women's rights movement. this is simply a more disorganized, loose affiliation where every publisher those that the majority of their readers are against women's voting rights, so if they publish these images in their illustrated newspaper, most of their readers will support them. and so what we have, one change we have in the 1860s, as you know, is that cards de visite become very, very popular. they can take these photographs, they can sell them to at least their supporters and perhaps even a broader public through a
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studio. this is really the first activist to do this very effectively, in a very coordinated way. this is one of her many photographs. a lot of her photographs, she looks very similar. so this is a very thoughtfully-posed portrait. and this also says at the bottom, i sell the shadow to support the substance. as you all know, photographs are made using sunlight during this time period so shadow was a very common term for a photograph. she's selling the shadow to support the substance which is not only herself because she is a professional reformer and she lives off the money she makes as a reformer, but also her substantial reform. she puts money into supporting herself but also the causes that she works toward. so she's an antislavery and women's rights activist who by the 1860s is a very popular
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lecturer, very famous in reformer circles. and she decides to sit for this portrait to prove a couple of things about herself. one is that she wants to portray herself as a respectful, respectable, fairly refined, motherly, feminine figure. so we can see that all of the details, the props in this scene, are part of that image. we have the suggestion of domesticity, arrangement of flowers on the table, a book on the table, the tablecloth, as well as the suggestion of kind of womanly activities, with the knitting. she's also emphasizing that she is a very matronly, respectable woman with her clothes. they're not overly frivolous or fashionable, they're fairly simple. and they really emphasize that she is a working woman, especially because of her head wrap. in contrast, we have elizabeth
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cady stanton and susan b. anthony, who are far less interested order concerned with appearing domestic or motherly. in fact the expressions on their faces are very different. they look more aggressive, defiant. they have a little bit less to prove than sojourner truth. sojourner truth is not only challenging the anti-women's-rights cartoons we were looking at, she's also challenging the racist stereotypes that are so popular at the time as well. so elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony see the success of distributing a portrait like sojourner truth. they see the interest in them, the ways that it can challenge these dominant ideas about women's rights leaders. and they decide to do their own portrait in 1870. you can see they're more interested in showing a little bit more about their fashion. they've got these lacy shawls
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and color, and jewelry. they're really emphasizing they are leaders of a movement, that you better not cross them, and that they are going to be pushing forward together. and this doesn't change anti-women's-rights cartoons too much, but it does in one really significant way, and that is the previousillustrations often emphasize nameless, generic women. once women's individual portraits like susan b. anthony become more familiar, the cartoonists specify which suffragists they're making fun of. you can see it basically copied this 1870 portrait and illustration, very similar to the cartoons we were looking at earlier. we have susan b. anthony wearing very masculine-looking clothing,
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her skirt is too short, her boots even have fur on them. in the background we have a women's political rally. this is from 1873, so women were not yet having these kinds of political protests and rallies yet. we also have a woman who is a police officer and two men who are doing domestic tasks including holding a baby and grocery shopping. so very similar to the other images we're looking at, but slightly updated in that we can tell immediately that it's susan b. anthony. and the as was so intent on particularly taking anthony down that the artists actually replicated the eye issue that she had. if you look closely here, you can see that one of her eyes is slightly out of focus. and this was one of the reasons why she often posed in profile, we often think of her in profile, that the artist perhaps knew this and decided to
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replicate that in this front page illustration for "the daily graphic." suffragists still wanted to appear like these kinds of political figures, like presidential candidates, images that we're so familiar with today. i'm sure you can think of many versions of this image, of these male political leaders, in the many institutions you've been in. they decided to create one of their first major visual representation projects through the history of women's suffrage. it was first published in 1881 and eventually became a set of six volumes that were about a thousand pages each, that were published from 1881 through 1922. so these are two images from the very first volume. it was edited by anthony stanton and matilda gage. they told a very particular story of the women's suffrage
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movement. they wanted to emphasize first that women were leaders. so when they were creating these portraits, they really made sure they resembled the portraits we were just looking at here. they also decided that they wanted to emphasize that they did not want to include any portraits of men, despite the fact that men were really important to the women's voting rights movement. they were important political leaders and officials and voters and played a really significant role in, for example, publication of their newspapers and leadership of their organizations. but this book really skews that image and only emphasizes female leadership. they also only included portraits of white women in this text. so even know they knew sojourner truth, worked with her on and off regularly and many others like francis harper, they didn't include any portraits of them. they also decided to really minimize the importance of the
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competing organizations. susan anthony had her own organization and there was another organization, the american women's sffrage organization. there was very little attention in this book. so they really skewed the version of the history that became the dominant history of the movement. and in fact still really affects our interpretation of the movement today, because we often think about stanton and anthony as the main leaders of the movement, and often the women of color, the fact that lucy stowe and her boston organization was dramatically larger than theirs, they had a far more successful newspaper, all of them often get lost in favor of this written narrative that they created. and this is just to remind you that these anti-women's-rights cartoons are still the most popular images in american visual culture in the late 19th century. this is a stereo graph from 1899, very much, again,
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suggesting that if women participate in politics they'll be interested in reading newspapers and paying attention to things other than the laundry which is what this man in the background is doing. so by the late 19th century and early 20th century, suffragists decided to change tactics. so they had promoted portraits of their leaders, especially in the late 19th century. but around the turn of the century they decided they really needed a more effective visual campaign. and they needed to respond directly to these political cartoons that suggested that if women win political rights, that they will become manly, right? this is why imagery like this becomes really the dominant kind of imagery produced by suv are a jiflts. -- suffragists. this suggests women need to not have the vote in order to be
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better mothers. these gave professional artists opportunities. that includes blanch aims who created this image. it's called double the power of the home, two good votes are better than one. they want us to pay attention to that word, that phrase, two good votes. this is an image of what suffragists think of as a good voter. we see this white mother with her children, three children around her, in this ideal home, it has a "god bless our home" sign in the back, a tea kettle on the stove steaming way. this is the kind of good voters that blanch james and others envisioned. people who maybe can't have one parent stay at home with their children, people who don't have as much money as this woman or people color or, you know, an immigrant perhaps, these people are not kind of included in this
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propaganda representation of why women need the vote. and this, as i said, is a very popular kind of component of the suffrage campaign. this image is by rose o'neill, another famous professional female artist of the time. she, you might remember, you know, be familiar with the design, she also designed the kewpie doll. it says give our mothers the vote they needed, as part of the protecting their food, their health, their play, their home, their schools, et cetera. so these are all the reasons why suffragists and many others are arguing that women need the vote. and there's also an emphasis in response to those political cartoons, that women who are suffragists are also fashionable and very feminine. this is kind of the before and after image by robinson from 1911 showing what suffragists used to look like in popular
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culture, frumpy women with glasses and her skirt's a little too short, a long kind of frumpy jacket, to this more idealized, elite, fashionable type with this extravagant feathered hat who looks very similar to the presentation of this ideal white feminine type, the gibson girl from this era. you can imagine why women of color like mary church carroll are trying to be included in this imagery, right? so women's suffrage imagery that's created by these mainstream white organizations who are led by white women are focusing on the vote for white women in particular and none of their imagery emphasizes they're also fighting for the vote for women of color. mary church carroll was born enslaved but she became one of the first women in the united states to earn both -- first
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back woman in the united states to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree. she was elected to be the first president of the national association of colored women which was founded in 1896. this organization was different from other suffrage organizations. they supported the vote, they wanted the vote for women. they were also thinking more broadly about gender and race-based issues. they were thinking about protecting the vote for back men who were losing it on a broad scale in the south by the 1890s. they were thinking about antisegregation, antilynching. they were thinking about how to educate their children better. so it was a much more broad movement. and mary church carroll, as you can see from this image, and many others of her like it, she really emphasizes she and her fellow back women's rights activists are extraordinarily respectable, refined, elegant. she was very interested in fashion, and you can see this,
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she often has extravagant hats on herself in these images. she was a fairly wealthy woman, a fairly elite woman in washington, dc at the time. you can see the similarities between her and this image from one of her speeches, and this representation of an idealized so-called new negro woman from 1904, right? and it's not dissimilar in silhouette, in hairstyle, in dress, from the gibson girl ideal that we were looking at just a moment ago. and i want to kind of also mention this image, because unlike all the images i've shown you so far, this one is really unusual. so all the anti-women's-rights cartoons, you can find many others like it, but this is the only one that i found in my research that emphasized that back women needed the vote in order to be good mothers, in
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order to protect their families. so this is from the 1910s, this is what votes for women means to the south. and unfortunately, the national association of colored women did not have the funds or resources or, you know, people power to create the same kind of propaganda that the white women's organizations did, despite the fact that carroll actually advocated for a portion of the organization's budget to be spent on visual campaigning. but the naacp actually created this, this is kind of one of the few pro-women's-voting-rights propaganda pieces we have that really emphasizes black women need this political power. this woman is holding a bat labeled federal constitution and she's beating down segregation, jim crow laws, and grandfather clauses in order to protect the
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woman in her skirts. this is emphasizing that not only white women need the vote but back women do too, for a very similar reason, which is to protect their families. so i want to hop into photographs, this is a very different genre than the images we've been looking at previously. it corresponds with a very different tactical shift within the movement itself as well. this is the moment in the early 1910s, really starting in 1907, but by the 1910s, we have a lot of suffragist activists walking in parades like this one, this is the 1913 parade we looked at at the very beginning of our conversation of esmeralda hollins on her horse, this is the the same parade. this is a very different world of protesting, right? and it's very different from the images of women as mothers that we've been looking at too. so this image really emphasizes that women are kind of taking to
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the streets. and they're also very conscious of taking advantage of the fact that half tones are becoming more popular in news publications. they're also in this particular case taking advantage of the fact that the next day was going to be woodrow wilson's inauguration. so there's aware there's going to be a lot of press in washington, dc. they're aware there would be a lot of photo journalists in washington, dc. so they take advantage of that with this parade. and they kind of have this idealized kind of very costumed, spectacular representation. the next image i'll show you adds to the sense of why someone like mary church carroll was working so hard on her public image. i just want to prepare you for this racist stereotype here. this is from "puck" from 1913. and it's making fun of the women who are participating in the 1913 parade. the white women who were organizing it did not want to
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have back and white women march together. so originally, they were open to it but then a contingent of suffragists protested against it. that's what we see here, a white woman appalled that these black women are marching with her. it's making fun of the suffragists who don't want them to participate but it's also a racist stereotype of these back women who want to march in a parade as well, emphasizing facial features, they don't have idealized body types, their fashions are not current. so we can see that this is kind of doing both things. and we can understand why someone like mary church carroll who wants to emphasize that back women are these respectable, refined, elegant leaders, is doing the work that she's doing. and so when we're thinking about these political protests,
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ultimately in the 1913 parade, ada b. wells marches in that parade, mary church carroll marches in that parade, she's able to get a contingent from a university to march too. it's far more integrated than that cartoon suggests. but we should also remember that these back women marching in the parade were far more threatened as well. they were more susceptible to violence. they were more susceptible even to critique from their fellow marchers. mary church carroll also participated in washington, dc as i mentioned at the very beginning, the very first time pickets at the white house. they started putting these pickets together in january of 1917, which as you might know is the same year, the same month that the united states is entering world war i. so there's a lot of controversy over whether they should be
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doing this at the time. and i would argue that we need both these pickets and the publicity they attract, these photographs that are published across the united states. as you all know, they were ultimately arrested, sent to workhouses, went on hunger strikes, and were force fed. all of that garnered significant publicity. not to mention the fact that the president drove by them every day in and out of the white house, could see them from his windows, him and many other politicians were having to kind of deal with the consequences of this protest. and yet, one of the really powerful images that the suffragists really made a compelling case for is this idea that women who participated in the effort were patriotic citizens, were motherly caregivers, like this poster here. this is a direct kind of continuation of that suffrage imagery we were looking at a moment ago. it says the greatest mother in the world, the greatest mother
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in the world is the mother who is a citizen, who is willing to extend her caregiving expertise in support of her country, not just as a voter, as the suffrage propaganda emphasized, but as a nurse in this particular case. so i want to emphasize that although this isn't technically a suffrage poster, this is an image very much building off the rhetoric, the imagery of those suffrage -- of campaigns from earlier that we discussed. so, you know, in comparison to the protesters that we were just looking at, the picketers, there were a lot more suffragists who decided to enlist as nurses, who decided to become farmers, who decided to work in factories in order to support the war effort. and ultimately their existence really became the reason why a lot of political officials, including woodrow wilson himself, they used these women as examples for why they were
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supporting women's rights. they said the women were demonstrating their support for the nation in these various ways. rarely acknowledged the importance of these picketers at the white house. it was really the combination of these two kinds of popular images, whether controversial, which kept them in the news, kept them on people's minds, and this more moderate and even conservative representation that gave more conservative politicians and officials, more moderate politicians and officials too, kind of an argument, a case for why they're making this decision. and ultimately, a lot of women did not gain the right to vote with the passage of the 19th amendment. and it is reflected very much by the imagery that we've been looking at, right? so the 19th amendment declared that it prohibits discrimination
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based on gender, based on sex. and so this basically means that any state laws that put into place grandfather clauses, poll taxes, literacy tests, anything that prohibits -- native american women don't even have citizenship rights on the whole, asian-american women don't win them until the 1940s. the 19th amendment really most effectively enfranchises white women. and we can see that a lot of the propaganda is reflective of that too. we can see that a lot of suffrage organizations were specifically fighting for the votes of white women as well. weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday, american history tv documents america's story. and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more, including charter
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communications. >> broadband as a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested billions, building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity, in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications along with these television companies support c-span2 as a public service. up next, another class from our series "lectures in history." >> good morning, everyone. in tammany catholic, we'll look at catholics in politics in the late 19th century. just to kind of put this in the context of what we've been looking at the past couple of weeks, what we've been looking at is this struggle for american catholics to find their place in american culture. despite


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