Alice Paul: The Women's Rights Movement

Powerful Essays
On January 10th, 1917, a group of young women 's rights activists waited outside the White House fence holding signs with the controversial statement, "Mr. President, how long must women wait to get their liberty? Let us have the rights we deserve." Among these activists stood Alice Paul, the founder of the National Woman 's Party (NWP). Paul was full of determination and passion with everything she did. The woman fought for her beliefs until the day she died and refused to give anything less than 100% commitment to her cause. The fight for Universal Suffrage was her reason to live. As a leader, Paul and her followers persisted through tough situations to stand for what they believed in: equal rights. Alice is known for many extraordinary…show more content…
The two girls felt the need to fight for Universal Suffrage on a constitutional level rather than state-by-state campaigning. After spending time in England, Paul incorporated many British tactics in the NWP such as militant protests, picketing, and hunger strikes. Such protests included the first ever Women 's March on the day of President Woodrow Wilson 's Inauguration. Though this may be viewed as disrespectful, the protests were intended to be completely nonviolent despite often ending with the women being ridiculed or even abused. The intentions of the NWP were harmless and the women persevered through an enormous amount of hate. Most women of the NWP did eventually end up in prison, including Alice Paul. By targeting the White House and the president personally, the NWP gained a great deal of public attention. Their cause was written about in newspapers and almost all of America knew of their fight for women 's suffrage. Once the amendment was passed the group of women did not stop. After completing one goal they moved on to the next. According to Debra Michals, Ph.D., “Afterward, Paul and the National Woman’s Party focused on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee women constitutional protection from discrimination.” The party, at the time, may have…show more content…
When the United States grew involved in World War 1 the women who took part in the Silent Sentinel protests were labeled unpatriotic. How could people protest against the leader of their country during a time of war? How could women try to tear the country in half during a time where everyone must stand strong together? The women were harshly treated for their alienated actions. Paul, aware of the war and the accusations made against herself, continued to lead the Silent Sentinels in picketing ahead of the White House regardless of the disrespect they presented. In addition, the women also explicitly used President Wilson 's words against him to cause aggravation and present clear points. Paul was a stubborn woman who the media viewed as unladylike for the time period. She did everything in her power to keep her marches and protests peaceful but with many people who strongly disagreed with her, things often escalated quickly. Paul viewed the president as a threat and rightly so. After months of picketing, Wilson issued the arrest of the Silent Sentinels for "obstructing traffic." The women were found guilty and sent to the Occoquan Workhouse. The "Night of Terror" is known as the night many of the women involved in the protesting were harshly beaten and abused in the workhouse. After hearing of such attacks, Paul too had herself arrested. While in the prison Paul and the other women
Get Access