Mergers & Acquisitions


Mergers & Acquisitions


In suffrage summaries, the 1890 merger of the National & American Woman Suffrage Assoc. is described in neutral or positive terms. It’s an inevitability, even the healthy repair of a breach. Sentimental bonus: it was negotiated by daughters of the organizations’ founders. Thread.

It’s hard to see the benefits, though. The merged organization was more politically and socially conservative, more hierarchical, and more racist.

NAWSA centered the state-by-state approach the American had championed. It largely abandoned the National’s federal amendment work.

This strategy was more accommodating of southern states that wanted to maintain white supremacy at the ballot box.

Also, it didn’t work.

Over the next two decades NAWSA spent a lot of money and effort to lose in New York, California, South Dakota and more.

Of dozens and dozens of attempts, only 2 referendums succeeded: Colorado in 1893 & Idaho in 1896.

Wyoming & Utah joined the union as suffrage states in the 1890s, but both were places where some women had already voted for a long time, though not consistently.

Meanwhile, the power the National had built in Washington waned. The federal amendment fight fell dormant for 20+ years.

Some longtime National leaders, like Matilda Joslyn Gage, saw the merger as a hostile takeover.


Daily Suffragist




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Daily Suffragist, “Mergers & Acquisitions,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 25, 2021,

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