Mergers & Acquisitions, part II


Mergers & Acquisitions, part II


Why did the American Woman Suffrage Association merge with its longtime rival, the National Woman Suffrage Association? They had distinct strategies & political philosophies. Neither had much money nor particularly large membership. So why? In a word, respectability. 🧵

For almost 20 years, the National (Stanton & Anthony, based in NYC, focused on federal amdt) was more progressive than the American (Lucy Stone & Julia Ward Howe, based in Boston, focused on state work). Yes, I made a chart. Please add!

Two trends converged over the post-war decades: the country got more conservative. And suffrage became more mainstream. Suffragists were succeeding: more and more people - even conservative southern women - began to see suffrage as necessary and reasonable.

By 1890 suffrage wasn’t a fringe, radical cause anymore. Meanwhile, radicalism became identified with labor unrest and “socialism,” which suffragists wanted to avoid. Eleanor Flexner says that by the late 1880s even Susan B Anthony wouldn’t dream of doing some of what she did in the 1870s: getting arrested, interrupting the 1876 Centennial etc. That was no longer how they did business - now they regularly testified before Congress.

Still, the National didn’t have enough friends in Congress to pass the 16th Amendment, as it was then called. The state-by-state approach that the American favored was less threatening to the status quo. (And more accommodating of white supremacy, as I explained 👇)

And that’s where the white women’s piece of the suffrage movement was headed in 1890. #Suffrage100


Daily Suffragist




-1- Daily Suffragist on Twitter- -Why did the American Woman Suffrage Association merge with its longtime rival- the National Woman Suffrage Association- They had distinct strategies -amp- political philosophies- Neither had much money nor .png



Daily Suffragist, “Mergers & Acquisitions, part II,” Daily Suffragist, accessed April 15, 2024,

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