The drive for passage of the Susan B. Anthony amendment continues. Throughout 1916 the Congressional Union continues organizing branches in various states. Conventions are held in Massachusetts, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and Washington.
1916 is a presidential election year. The Republican candidate, Governor Charles Hughes, publicly supports a federal suffrage amendment. Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party favor suffrage by state action.
The Congressional Union's growing membership is greatly augmented when the Women's Political Union of New York, under the leadership of Harriot Stanton Blatch, affiliates with the Union.
The Senate Woman Suffrage Committee quickly reports out the Susan B. Anthony bill and places it on the Senate calendar; however, action in the House bogs down.
A subcommittee sends the Susan B. Anthony bill without recommendation to the full Judiciary Committee.
The Judiciary Committee votes nine to seven to table the bill for later consideration--probably in December. The Congressional Union lobbies against this action.
The Judiciary Committee votes to reconsider the suffrage bill.
The Judiciary Committee meets; with a vote of ten to nine it again postpones consideration of the bill.
A conference of the National Advisory Council and state officers of the non-voting states of the Congressional Union meets in Washington, D.C. Speakers at the conference include Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Anne Martin, Maude Younger, Elizabeth Kent, and Cora Smith King. The conference decides to appeal to the women of the enfranchised states for their support of the suffrage amendment.
The Congressional Union sends a group of women on a railroad tour of the western enfranchised states. The Suffrage Special, as it is called, consists of Lillian Ascough, Abby Scott Baker, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Lucy Burns, Agnes Campbell, Anna Constable, Sarah T. Colvin, Edith Goode, Jane Goode, Florence Bayard Hilles, Julia Hurlbut, Caroline Katzenstein, Dorothy Mead, Ella Riegel, Elizabeth Rogers, Mrs. Townsend Scott, Helen Todd, and Marjory Whittemore. These women spend the next few weeks speaking, distributing literature, and selling the Suffragist. The Suffrage Special arouses interest in the federal suffrage amendment among voting women.
Towards the end of its tour, the Suffrage Special holds a conference in Salt Lake City. This conference of Union members from the suffrage states passes resolutions and selects delegates to present them to Congress.
The Suffrage Special and the western delegates arrive in Washington, D.C. After a colorful welcome the delegates and their resolutions are received at the Capitol by a group of senators and representatives.
The Congressional Union organizes a Woman's Party Convention of its members at Chicago's Blackstone Theatre. Delegates from the suffrage states are allowed to vote at the convention; delegates from the other states are allowed to speak but not vote. The convention, under the chairmanship of Maud Younger, adopts a platform supporting a federal suffrage amendment. The National Woman's Party elects Anne H. Martin as chairman, Phoebe Hearst and Mary A. Bartelme as vice-chairmen, and Mabel Vernon as secretary.
The members of the National Woman's Party (NWP) are the enfranchised members of the Congressional Union. In the enfranchised states the Congressional Union branches simply change their names to the National Woman's Party. The officers of the NWP are for the most part figureheads with the NWP being in fact directed by the officers of the Congressional Union. This relationship between the two organizations continues into 1917 when it becomes expedient to rejoin the voting and non-voting women into a single organization.
The National Woman's Party meets at Colorado Springs to decide what action the organization will take during the presidential election campaign. The NWP decides to endorse no candidates, but to oppose all Democratic candidates on the basis of that party's record on the suffrage amendment.
The NWP and the Congressional Union immediately send organizers into the enfranchised states. For the next three months these organizers lobby and speak for federal suffrage and against the Democratic Party. The organizers include Lucy Burns, Maud Younger, Edith Barriger, and Lillian Ascough in Montana; Nina Allender, Margaretta Schuyler, and Rose Winslow in Wyoming; Agnes Campbell, Margaret Whittemore, and Julia Hurlburt in Washington; Efffa Huhse, Jane Pincus, and Eleanor Barker in Idaho; Doris Stevens, Emily Perry, Beulah Amidon, and Hazel Hunkins in California; Effa Muhse, Florence Bayard Hilles, Elsie Hill, Ella Riegel, Harriot Stanton Blatch, and Jessie H. MacKaye in Colorado; Jane Pincus, Emily Perry, and Lucy Branham in Utah; Kathleen Taylor in Kansas and Missouri; Mary G. Fendall in Oregon; Vivian Pierce, Ella Thompson, Iris Calderhead, Rose Winslow, and Helen Todd in Arizona; Edna Latimer, Cornelia Wyse, Sarah Grant, and Anne H. Martin in Nevada; and Jessie H. MacKaye and Abby Scott Baker in Illinois.
Harriot Stanton Blatch and Inez Milholland Boissevain begin speaking tours through the suffrage states. Inez Milholland attracts a great deal of public attention, but collapses while speaking in Los Angeles. She dies a short time later and is viewed by many as a martyr for suffrage.
In Chicago, one hundred members of the Woman's Party confront President Wilson while he addresses a crowd. As Wilson passes by demonstrators, thugs attack the women, destroying their banners, knocking down several women, and dragging them along the street.
The election results in victory for Wilson, but the NWP achieves results. Besides influencing the outcome of some congressional contests, the NWP gains the fear and respect of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have no desire to confront the suffragists in future election campaigns.
While President Wilson is speaking before Congress, Mabel Vernon, Elizabeth Rogers, Florence Bayard Hilles, Caroline Spencer, and Mrs. Harry Lowenburg unfurl a banner before him that reads, "Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage?"
The NWP and the Union hold a memorial service for Inez Milholland. A colorful and dramatic pageant is held in Statuary Hall at the Capitol.
|Source: "Yearly Summaries for Series I" in Haggerty, Donald L. (ed). National Woman's Party Papers: The Suffrage Years, 1913-1920, A Guide to the Microfilm Edition (Sanford, N.C.: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1981) 14-16.|