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“Fine Dignity, Picturesque Beauty, and Serious Purpose”:

The Reorientation of Suffrage Media in the Twentieth Century

Emily Scarbrough, Author

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Alice Paul

Born in 1885, Alice Paul was still a young woman in the 1910s when she joined the suffrage movement. After college, Paul moved to England where she bore witness to the militant strategies of British suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst. When she returned to the United States she carried with her new ideas of how suffrage should be won. While she initially was involved with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Paul splintered from the group in 1913 to form the Congressional Union (CU) with Lucy Burns. In 1916 the CU merged with Harriet Stanton Blatch's Women's Political Union (WPU) to form the National Women's Party (NWP). The NWP employed methods similar to British suffragettes to depart very radically from NAWSA's traditional tactics. During World War I, Paul and other members of the NWP picketed the White House. Many women were imprisoned and force fed, which split public opinion over their actions. After suffrage was won, Paul continued to argue on behalf of women's rights, even penning an equal rights amendment to the Constitution in 1923.
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