19th Amendment

The Role of Washington State in the 19th Amendment

by Shanna Stevenson, WHC Coordinator

Signaling a change in national tactics away from the less militant NAWSA strategies, Alice Paul had formed the Congressional Union (CU) in April 1913 with the singular goal of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. The National Council of Women Voters (NCWV) soon joined forces with the CU. Paul and her colleague Lucy Burns had worked with militant suffragettes in England and wanted to implement similar tactics in the United States. Instead of asking for the vote, they believed in demanding women’s suffrage. Paul was riding a momentous wave of publicity, which had been gathering force in the wake of the massive March 3, 1913, pro-suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., which she had organized as leader of NAWSA’s Congressional Committee just prior to President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Although the parade was a public relations coup, it in many ways symbolized the divide that had been growing within NAWSA over strategy.