Entering WWI


Entering WWI


Woodrow Wilson was staunchly opposed to two things: entering the war in Europe, and supporting women’s suffrage. He gave in on the war first.

Wilson cut diplomatic relations with Germany just before his second inauguration. He had sought desperately to keep the US out of the war, but the news that Germany was negotiating an alliance with Mexico was too much. The US was headed into WWI.

White suffragists took very different approaches to the war. Carrie Chapman Catt, though a founder of the Woman’s Peace Party, wanted NAWSA to support the war effort. She saw it as a chance to prove women’s patriotism and ability to contribute - and to curry favor with Wilson.

Alice Paul wanted nothing to distract from winning a federal suffrage amendment. History loomed: her foremothers had set aside women’s rights during the Civil War to devote themselves to ending slavery & preserving the Union. The resulting legal setbacks for women were profound.

Alice wasn’t going to let that happen again - nor could she bear Wilson’s hypocritical language about going to war for democracy and freedom. Woman’s Party members were free to support the war under other banners, but NWP would take no position on it.


Daily Suffragist




Women's Peace Parade NYC Aug 29 1914.jpg
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Daily Suffragist, “Entering WWI,” Daily Suffragist, accessed February 29, 2024, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/492.

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