How Did Women Get The Right To Vote | Conversations with Jim Zirin


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>>HI THERE. I’M JIM ZIRIN. WELCOME BACK FOR MORE CONVERSATIONS. IN 1789 THE FOUNDERS OF OUR COUNTRY, FEARFUL OF THE DANGERS OF POPULISM, DID ALL THEY COULD TO FILTER THE GOVERNMENT THEY CREATED FROM THE PEOPLE. THE STATE LEGISLATURE’S ELECTED THE SENATE. THIS DIDN’T CHANGE UNTIL 1913. THE PRESIDENT WAS NOT ELECTED BY MAJORITY OF THE POPULAR VOTE, BUT ONLY BY VOTE IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE, SKEWED TO GIVE EQUAL POWER TO THE LESS POPULAR STATES, AND NEARLY EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS HASN’T CHANGED. WOMEN KNEW IN 1790 CONSTITUTED ROUGHLY 39% OF THE POPULATION OF 4 MILLION WERE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THIS DID NOT CHANGE UNTIL 1920, WITH THE RATIFICATION OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT ALMOST A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. WITH US IS AUTHOR, TV ANCHOR, AND LONG DISTANCE SWIMMER, LYNN SHERR WHO HAS BEEN PREPARING TO CELEBRATE NEXT YEAR THE CENTENNIAL OF THIS LANDMARK EVENT. I’M PLEASED TO WELCOME LYNN SHERR BACK TO THIS PROGRAM. >>>HI JIM. I’M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE AND WHAT A GREAT THING TO CELEBRATE.>>>GREAT THING TO CELEBRATE. NOW, HAVE WOMEN BEEN CELEBRATED ENOUGH IN LIGHT OF THE STRUGGLE? >>>NO, OF COURSE NOT. NEVER. AND DON’T EVER FORGET THAT. >>>I MEAN, WE DON’T HAVE A WOMAN ON THE CURRENCY AS THEY DO IN ENGLAND. >>>NO, WE DID HAVE SUSAN B. ANTHONY ON THE DOLLAR COIN AND IT WAS A GREAT IDEA, BUT IT WAS REALLY DUMBLY PUT OUT BECAUSE WHAT THEY SHOULD’VE DONE IS PULLED THE PAPER DOLLAR OFF THE MARKET SO PEOPLE WOULD USE THE SILVER COIN. OF COURSE, NOBODY USED THE COIN CAUSE IT WAS TOO HEAVY BECAUSE YOU COULD USE THE PAPER. SO THEY TRIED. AND THEN SACAGAWEA THEY TRIED WITH HER, WE’LL GET THERE, WE’LL GET THERE.>>>WELL DIDN’T THEY ASK GEORGE W. BUSH WHO HE THOUGHT THE FEMALE PERSUASION OUGHT TO BE ON THE CURRENCY AND HE SAID MARGARET THATCHER. >>>AND YOUR NEXT QUESTION?>>>NOW, IN CENTRAL PARK THERE’S SOME 23 STATUES OF HISTORICAL FIGURES, ALL MALE, WHY NOT A WOMAN? >>>AND THERE ARE ALSO STATUES OF FICTIONAL FIGURES; ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THAT KIND OF — WELL, FOR ALL THESE YEARS WE’VE NEVER HAD A STATUE IN CENTRAL PARK OF A REAL HUMAN WOMAN. FINALLY, WE ARE ABOUT TO GET ONE OF THREE HUMAN WOMEN, SO HURRAH!>>>WELL TELL US ABOUT THAT. WHO’S GOING TO BE DEPICTED IN THIS STATUTE?>>>SUSAN B. ANTHONY. IT’S GOING TO BE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE WHERE ALL THE GREAT STATUES ARE, AND IT’S A STATUE OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY AND ELIZABETH CADY STANTON AND SOJOURNER TRUTH, THREE VERY PROMINENT WOMEN IN AMERICAN HISTORY, ALL OF WHOM HELPED GET US THE RIGHT TO VOTE. SUSAN B. ANTHONY AND ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, OF COURSE, WERE THE ACKNOWLEDGED LEADERS OF THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT STARTING IN THE 19TH CENTURY. SOJOURNER TRUTH, A FREED SLAVE, WAS A TIRELESS WORKER FOR MANY, MANY CAUSES, INCLUDING SUFFRAGE AND THESE THREE WOMEN KNEW EACH OTHER, LIKED EACH OTHER, WORKED TOGETHER. SO IT’S WONDERFULLY APPROPRIATE THAT FINALLY THE LITTLE GIRLS AND LITTLE BOYS OF NEW YORK AND EVERYONE WHO COMES TO VISIT CAN SEE REAL WOMEN IN CENTRAL PARK.>>>SO WHY NOT HARRIET TUBMAN? SHE WAS A VERY IMPORTANT FIGURE IN THE SUFFRAGIST MOVEMENT? >>>WHY NOT? BUT SHE’LL GET A STATUE. I’M SURE, THERE ARE OTHER, I BELIEVE THERE ARE OTHER STATUES OF TUBMAN AND THERE ARE PLAQUES TO HER. THE WHY NOT QUESTION IS, IT’S KIND OF A SLIPPERY SLOPE BECAUSE, WELL, WHY NOT THIS ONE? WHY NOT THAT ONE? THIS STARTED OUT AS A TRIBUTE TO THE TWO WOMEN WHO HAD LED THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT, STANTON AND ANTHONY. AND THEN THE DECISION WAS MADE TO MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE INCLUSIVE AND SOJOURNER TRUTH WAS ADDED. AND IT’S A WONDERFUL IDEA. IT’S JUST WONDERFUL. >>>WELL WE WERE THE 17TH COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TO GIVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE. WHY WAS IT SO LONG IN COMING? IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE MOVEMENT STARTED LONG BEFORE 1920 DIDN’T IT?>>>YEAH. TRADITIONALLY, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THE WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT AS BEING 1848 WHEN A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS LED BY LUCRETIA MOTT, A QUAKER FROM PHILADELPHIA AND ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, A HOUSEWIFE FROM UPSTATE NEW YORK, WERE OUTRAGED BY THEIR TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF SOME MEN IN AN ANTISLAVERY MEETING. THEY WERE BIG ABOLITIONISTS AND THEY DECIDED WOMEN SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS AND THEY CALLED FOR A MEETING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING WRONG AND WHY WOMEN SHOULD HAVE MORE RIGHTS. AND IT WAS THE FIRST PUBLIC DEMAND FOR THE VOTE FOR WOMEN. THAT WAS 1848. IF YOU EXPAND THE HISTORY, IN 1837 THERE WAS AN ANTISLAVERY MEETING IN NEW YORK CITY THAT WAS INTERRACIAL, BOTH BLACK AND WHITE WOMEN WERE THERE, AND THAT WAS REALLY PROBABLY THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE GETTING TOGETHER OF THE TWO GROUPS SAYING WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT OUR RIGHTS. THEY DID NOT ASK FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE. SO 1848 IS THE BEGINNING OF THE RIGHT OF THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE. 1837, AND YOU CAN TAKE LOOK AT THAT AS KIND OF THE BEGINNING OF WOMEN PUBLICLY GETTING TOGETHER AND SAYING, WE WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE WHOLE PEOPLE.>>>SO THERE WAS A SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN THE WOMEN’S SUFFRAGIST MOVEMENT AND THE BLACK ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT. >>>ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. THE WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT GREW OUT OF THE ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT EXACTLY THE SAME WAY THAT THE SECOND WAVE, THE MODERN WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IN THE 70S GREW OUT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. IT WAS A CASE OF WOMEN WORKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S FREEDOM, SOMETIMES THEIR OWN, IF THEY HAPPEN TO BE BLACK WOMEN DOING THE WORK AND THEN SAYING, WAIT A MINUTE, WE WANT THIS TOO. NOW IN TERMS OF THE 19TH CENTURY, THE WOMEN HAD ALREADY BEEN WORKING FOR THEIR OWN RIGHTS, BUT THE ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT REALLY IS WHAT CATALYZED A LOT OF WOMEN TO SAY, THIS PERTAINS TO US TOO. >>>WELL, A KEY FIGURE IN THE ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT WAS FREDERICK DOUGLASS AS A BLACK FORMERS FREED SLAVE. WAS HE NOT? AND HE WAS A GREAT SUPPORTER OF THE SUFFRAGIST MOVEMENT UNTIL ->>>WELL, HE WAS, THERE WAS A GREAT PHRASE. I LOVE THE PHRASE. IN THE 19TH CENTURY, PEOPLE LIKE FREDERICK DOUGLASS, HE WAS A WOMAN’S RIGHTS MAN, AND I LOVE THAT. HE WAS A WOMAN’S RIGHTS MAN. HE WAS IN WITH ALL FOUR FEET. AND AT THAT 1848 SENECA FALLS CONVENTION, FREDERICK DOUGLASS WAS THE ONLY MAN, THE ONLY ONE TO SAY, THE ONLY MAN TO SAY YES, WOMEN SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. I DON’T THINK PEOPLE TODAY APPRECIATE HOW RADICAL THE CONCEPT WAS OF GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THOSE DAYS. THERE HAD BEEN SOME EARLY VOTING AMONG WOMEN, NEW JERSEY EARLY ON GAVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE, A COUPLE OTHER PLACES, BUT IT ALL GOT RESCINDED. >>>WHY WAS THAT SO BECAUSE IN THE COLONIES, MANY OF THEM, WOMEN HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE AMONG THE INDIAN TRIBES, NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES, WOMEN HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? >>>I GOTTA THROW IT BACK TO YOU. WHY WERE MEN AS A WHOLE, NOT ALL MEN, WHY WOULD ANY MAN BE OPPOSED TO GIVING A WOMAN THE RIGHT TO VOTE? YOU TELL ME.>>>WELL, BECAUSE A PLURALITY OF THEM VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP. >>>THERE YOU GO. WELL, THERE’S THAT TOO. IN THOSE DAYS IT WAS ALL THE SAME ARGUMENTS THAT WE HEAR TODAY. IT WAS BASICALLY, OF COURSE, I BELIEVE, MEN BEING AFRAID OF THE POWER OF WOMEN, BUT THE ARGUMENTS WENT, WOMEN ARE TOO EMOTIONAL. REMEMBER BRETT KAVANAUGH CRYING AT HIS HEARINGS. NEVER MIND. WOMEN ARE TOO EMOTIONAL. WOMEN BELONG IN THE HOME. WHY COULD WOMEN NOT BE BRAIN SURGEONS? BECAUSE THEIR HANDS WEREN’T DELICATE ENOUGH. THEY COULD DO EMBROIDERY, BUT THEY COULDN’T DO BRAIN SURGERY. REALLY DUMB ARGUMENTS IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY. AND MEN WERE SIMPLY OPPOSED TO THE WHOLE CONCEPT AND WOMEN REALLY, THE FIGHT FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS, THE FIGHT TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE, TOOK MORE THAN 70 YEARS FROM, IF YOU START WITH 1848 TO 1920 THAT’S SEVEN DECADES OF WOMEN FIGHTING TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE. IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY PERIOD THAT JUST WENT ON AND ON AND ON. AND THEY FINALLY GOT IT. >>>WASN’T THERE A CERTAIN TENSION BASED ON RACE BETWEEN THE ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT AND THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT AT THAT TIME? >>>WELL THE BIG FIGHT CAME DURING RECONSTRUCTION. NOW, JUST A SECOND OF BACKGROUND. SO HERE YOU HAVE ALL THESE WOMEN WHO WORKED WITH MEN WERE ABOLITIONISTS. THEY FINALLY, MANY OF THE ABOLITIONIST AT FIRST WOULDN’T LET THE WOMEN HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS IN THE ABOLITION SOCIETY, THE ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, FINALLY THAT GOT WORKED OUT. THE WOMEN WERE ABOLITIONISTS, AND THEN THEY WERE, AND THEY STARTED ASKING FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE, DEMANDING THE RIGHT TO VOTE. AND OF COURSE, THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE WAS TO ASK MEN, SO THE WHOLE THING WAS SO COMPLICATED. BUT DURING THE CIVIL WAR THEIR ABOLITIONISTS PARTNERS, THE MEN SAID TO THE WOMEN, LOOK, WE THINK YOUR FIGHT FOR SUFFRAGE IS A JUST ONE AND WE WANT YOU TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE, BUT WE’VE GOT A CIVIL WAR. WE’VE GOT 4 MILLION SLAVES THAT WE NEED TO GET FREED. PUT YOUR WORK ASIDE, WORK WITH US. LET’S GET THE SLAVES FREED AND GET THEM THEIR RIGHTS FIRST. AND THE WOMEN SAID, FINE. AND THEY PUT SUFFRAGE ASIDE AND THEY WORKED FOR EMANCIPATION AND FOR GETTING THE RIGHTS OF THE FREED SLAVES. IN FACT, IT WAS A SUSAN B. ANTHONY, ELIZABETH CADY STANTON AND ALL THE OTHERS WHO SENT IN A PETITION TO CONGRESS THAT WAS THE BIGGEST ONE EVER SENT WITH SIGNATURES THAT HELPED LEAD TO THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. SO WE GET THE 13TH AMENDMENT. THE SLAVES ARE FREED. THEN COMES THE 14TH AMENDMENT, MAKING EVERYBODY A CITIZEN, IF YOU’RE BORN HERE. BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP. AND THE 15TH AMENDMENT. 14TH AND 15TH ARE WHERE THE TENSIONS BEGAN BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENED WAS THE MEN IN CONGRESS, AND OF COURSE IT WAS ALL MALE, AND IT WAS THE REPUBLICANS WERE THE LIBERALS IN THOSE DAYS. REMEMBER IT WAS ALL FLIPPED. THEY DID NOT WANT TO GIVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE TO WOMEN. THEY ONLY WANTED TO GIVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE TO BLACK MEN. AND THE 14TH AND 15TH AMENDMENTS, THE 15TH AMENDMENT IN PARTICULAR GAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE TO BLACK MEN, NOT TO BLACK WOMEN, NOT TO ANY WOMEN. AND THE WOMEN SAID, WAIT A MINUTE. WE PUT OUR WORK ASIDE TO WORK WITH YOU, AND YOU’RE NOW THROWING US UNDER THE BUS. WHAT ABOUT US? AND THE MEN SAID, ONE THING AT A TIME. WE GO FIRST SAID FREDERICK DOUGLASS. FREDERICK DOUGLASS, WHO WAS A GREAT CHAMPION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS FOR THAT ONE PERIOD, THERE WAS A BIG FALLING OUT. HE SAID, NO, BLACK MEN GO FIRST. NOT BLACK WOMEN, NOT WHITE WOMEN. AND IT WAS A VERY, A VERY ANXIOUS AND TERRIBLE TIME. THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT SPLIT. ONE GROUP SAID, WE SUPPORT THE RIGHTS OF BLACK MEN OVER WOMEN. ONE GROUP SAID, WE DON’T, AND THEY SPLIT. ULTIMATELY━ >>>YOU CALL THAT A GREAT BETRAYAL. >>>I CALL IT THE GREAT BETRAYAL. I THINK THAT WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT IN PART THE IDEA OF VOTING WAS SO RADICAL THAT THEY FEARED THAT THE BLACK MEN, NOBODY WOULD GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE IF THEY TRIED TO PUT WOMEN AND BLACKS TOGETHER. AND THE FEELING WAS ONE THING AT A TIME. BUT WHILE THEY WERE DOING THAT, THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS ALSO SAID, WAIT A MINUTE, IF WE GIVE BLACK MEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WE GET A LOT MORE REPUBLICAN VOTES BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE GUARANTEED TO VOTE REPUBLICAN, WHICH WAS THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY AT THE TIME.>>>WASN’T THERE ALSO A FEELING AMONG THE SUFFRAGISTS THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO GIVE, WHITE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN ORDER TO COUNTER IN INCREASE IN BLACK VOTERS.>>>HOLD THAT THOUGHT FOR ONE SECOND. HOLD THAT THOUGHT FOR ONE SECOND BECAUSE THAT’S LATER. THE THINKING AMONG THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS WAS, GIVE BLACK MEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN THIS BECAUSE THEN WE’LL GET MORE VOTES. DON’T GIVE ALL WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY, THERE ARE WHITE WOMEN WHO WILL VOTE DEMOCRATIC AND WE DON’T WANT THEM, WE ONLY WANT THE REPUBLICAN VOTES. AGAIN THAT WAS THE LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE PARTY. SO THEY JUST FORGOT ABOUT WOMEN. MUCH LATER ON, FIRST OF ALL, EVERYBODY GOT BACK TOGETHER AFTER THE FIGHT. FREDRICK DOUGLASS, SUSAN B., ELIZABETH WERE GOOD FRIENDS FOREVER. THEY MADE UP THEIR DIFFERENCES AND HE WORKED AGAIN FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS. >>>SUSAN B. REFUSED TO ATTEND HIS WEDDING TO A WHITE WOMAN DIDN’T SHE? >>>WELL IT GETS COMPLICATED. SHE DIDN’T REFUSE TO ATTEND HIS WEDDING, BUT SHE DID SPEAK AT HIS FUNERAL AND SHE WAS VERY CLOSE WITH AT LEAST ONE OF HIS WIVES. THERE WERE SEVERAL. SO, IT WAS A COMPLICATED TIME, BUT THEY BECAME, THEY REMAINED VERY CLOSE FRIENDS AT THE END. THE WOMEN’S GROUPS GOT BACK TOGETHER. BUT WHAT YOU SAID BEFORE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. STARTING AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, THERE WAS A MOVEMENT BY SOUTHERN WHITES TO SAY, LOOK. DON’T WORRY ABOUT GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE. WHITE WOMEN IN THE SOUTH WILL OUT VOTE BLACK WOMEN. IT WILL COUNTER IT. DON’T WORRY. THERE WAS DEFINITELY RACISM LATER ON. DEFINITELY. DURING THIS PERIOD THOUGH, IN THE 19TH CENTURY, THE GREAT BETRAYAL PERIOD AND RECONSTRUCTION, IT WAS WOMEN SAYING, HOLD IT, WE WORKED WITH YOU. YOU NOW NEED TO WORK WITH US AND LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER. WE’RE THE SAME AS THEY ARE. GIVE US ALL THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THAT CAUSED A LOT OF, A LOT OF PROBLEMS AND A LOT OF HURT FEELINGS. >>>SO, THE SUFFRAGISTS BROUGHT A NUMBER OF COURT CASES, DIDN’T THEY IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE FRANCHISE. HOW SUCCESSFUL WERE THEY? >>>I THINK MY FAVORITE, MY FAVORITE PART OF THE, OF THE WHOLE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IS 1872. WOMEN DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE.>>>I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS A 1920 BUT SAY IT’S 1872.>>>NO THIS IS BETTER BECAUSE I MEAN, 1920 YES, WE GOT THE RIGHT TO VOTE, BUT BECAUSE OF JIM CROW LAWS AND EVERYTHING IN THE SOUTH, MANY BLACK WOMEN AND WOMEN OF COLOR AND OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. SO WE STILL HAD A WAYS TO GO. BUT 1872 ULYSSES S. GRANT IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT ON THE REPUBLICAN TICKET. SUSAN B. ANTHONY AND A BUNCH OF THE WOMEN SAID, LOOK, 14TH AMENDMENT SAID BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP. WE’RE CITIZENS. WE CAN VOTE. EVEN THOUGH THE 15TH SAID ONLY BLACK MEN CAN VOTE. SO, SUSAN B., A BUNCH OF WOMEN GO TO THE POLLS AND THEY VOTE. SHE BROW BEATS THE REGISTRARS, SHE GETS REGISTERED, IT’S HEADLINES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. IT WAS THE BIGGEST STORY GOING. SHE THEN VOTES WITH SOME OTHER WOMEN. IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK. 14, 15 WOMEN GET ARRESTED AND ARRAIGNED AND ONLY SUSAN B. ANTHONY IS TRIED, CONVICTED, AND NEVER SENT TO JAIL. >>>BECAUSE OF WHAT? TRYING TO VOTE? >>>FOR BEING A WOMAN. >>>BEING A WOMAN. WELL, ALL RIGHT. SHOULDN’T BE A CRIME.>>>THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DID THIS. THIS WAS, IT STARTED OUT, SHE WAS IN ROCHESTER, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TOOK OVER. IT WAS SO IMPORTANT TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THEY SENT A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE. THOSE ARE THE DAYS WHEN THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES RODE CIRCUIT AND THEREFORE HELD TRIALS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. THEY WAITED UNTIL THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WAS RIDING CIRCUIT IN HER PART OF NEW YORK STATE. HE PRESIDED. NOT ONLY WAS SHE NOT ALLOWED TO TESTIFY AT HER OWN TRIAL, BUT HE DISMISSED THE JURY. HE DIRECTED THE VERDICT. AND INSISTED THEY FIND HER GUILTY. THEY FINED HER $100. SHE STOOD UP AND MADE A PASSIONATE PLEA, AND THE JUDGE SAID, AND SHE SAID, I WILL NOT PAY A PENNY OF YOUR $100 FINE. THE JUDGE SAID, I WON’T MAKE YOU PAY A PENNY OF MY $100 FINE. I WON’T SEND YOU TO JAIL. THEREBY, OF COURSE, ULTIMATELY DENYING HER THE ABILITY TO APPEAL AND GO TO THE SUPREME COURT FOR HER CASE. SHE’S A CONVICTED FELON. IT’S STILL ON THE BOOKS. SHE TESTED THE LAW. IT DIDN’T WORK.>>>CONVICTED FELONS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO VOTE, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN STATES.>>>SO EVEN IF SHE WERE ALIVE TODAY, SHE COULDN’T VOTE, RIGHT? >>>IN MANY STATES. BUT THAT WAS NOT THE ONLY COURT CASE. THE SUFFRAGISTS HAS BROUGHT A NUMBER OF CASES AND THEY LOST EVERY ONE OF THEM. >>>EVERY SINGLE ONE. >>>THEN WAS THERE THE THINKING THAT THERE HAD TO BE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IF THEY WERE GOING TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE.>>>ONCE AGAIN TOWARDS THE, IN THE 20TH CENTURY THE MOVEMENT SPLIT ONCE AGAIN. THERE WERE A BUNCH OF YOUNGER, IT WAS SO GENERATIONAL. >>>YOU WAIT LONG ENOUGH, THERE’LL BE YOUNGER SUFFRAGISTS. >>>THERE YOU GO. SO YOUNGER WOMEN LED BY A WOMAN NAMED ALICE PAUL, WHO HAD SPENT TIME IN BRITAIN WHERE THEY WERE VERY MILITANT. THE WOMEN THERE TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WHICH THEY GOT BEFORE WE DID, SOME OF THEM. ALICE PAUL COMES BACK AND SAYS, WE HAVE TO BE MORE MILITANT. SO SHE GETS A GROUP, AND BY THE WAY, THESE MILITANT YOUNG WOMEN IN THE 19-TEENS ARE THE ONLY ONES YOU CAN PROPERLY CALL SUFFRAGETTES. EVERYONE ELSE IS A SUFFRAGIST. THE WOMEN WHO CAME FROM ENGLAND, BECAUSE THE ENGLISH WOMEN WERE CALLED SUFFRAGETTES, WHICH WAS A DIMINUTIVE TERM, BUT THEY LIKED IT. THEY SORT OF OWNED IT. THIS LITTLE TINY GROUP MIGHT’VE BEEN SUFFRAGETTES. PROPERLY THE WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY WHO FOUGHT FOR SUFFRAGE WANTING TO BE CALLED SUFFRAGISTS. SO SHE COMES BACK. THEY’RE THE MILITANT ONES.>>>GENDER NEUTRAL. >>>ALL GENDER NEUTRAL BECAUSE THERE WERE PLENTY OF MEN WHO SUPPORTED OUR CAUSE. CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT WAS THE LEADER OF THE MORE ESTABLISHED WING OF THE PARTY. AND IT’S MY BELIEF, AND I THINK IT’S PROVEN TRUE THAT WITHOUT BOTH WORKING TOGETHER, BOTH HAPPENING AT ONCE, WE NEVER WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE EVEN AT THAT POINT. THE MILITANTS WERE MILITANT. THEY MARCHED IN FRONT OF, IN WASHINGTON, THEY PICKETED THE WHITE HOUSE. THEY WERE CALLED SILENT SENTINELS. THEY STOOD THERE WITH HUGE, BIG SIGNS THAT SAID, MR. PRESIDENT, WILSON, HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT? SOME OF THEM WERE ARRESTED, SENT TO PRISON, BRUTALLY FORCE FED, HORRIBLE THINGS. AT THE SAME TIME, CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT AND HER GROUP ARE GOING STATE BY STATE, BY STATE, WORKING FOR A FEDERAL AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. FINALLY, IN 1919 THE TIDE HAS TURNED. THE WAR IS OVER. WORLD WAR ONE.>>>WORLD WAR ONE WAS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR WASN’T IT?>>>IT WAS BECAUSE THERE WERE━ >>>WOMEN WERE CERTAINLY DEVOTING THEMSELVES TO THE WAR EFFORT NOT NECESSARILY IN COMBAT ROLES, BUT WERE VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR. >>>AND THERE WAS VERY MUCH AN OPENING OF THE MIND, RIGHT, AS WARS TEND TO DO BECAUSE IT’S A GREAT EQUALIZER. SO, IN 1919, THE HOUSE PASSES IT, THE SENATE PASSES IT, AND THEN IT GOES OUT TO THE STATES, AN AMENDMENT, THE 19TH AMENDMENT. INCIDENTALLY, WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY FIRST PROPOSED IN CONGRESS, IN 18, I THINK 78, BUT I’M NOT 100% SURE, IT WAS THE 16TH AMENDMENT. BY THE TIME IT PASSED, IT WAS THE 19TH AMENDMENT. >>>OKAY. SO IT PASSES AND THE TEXT READ, AND I THINK I SHOULD READ IT, WE’LL PUT IT UP ON THE SCREEN. THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABRIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX. CONGRESS SHALL HAVE POWER TO ENFORCE THIS ARTICLE BY APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION. NOW, IT SAID NOTHING ABOUT RACE OR ETHNICITY. THEY HAD TO WAIT SOMETIME, THAT’S CALLED THE UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. THIS DIDN’T PROVIDE FOR UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. >>>WHAT IT DID WAS OF COURSE, AS YOU KNOW, WAY BETTER THAN I, IT BARRED STATES, IT SAID STATES COULD NOT PREVENT YOU FROM VOTING BECAUSE YOU WERE FEMALE. WHAT IT DIDN’T DO WAS SAY ANYTHING ABOUT BACKGROUND, EDUCATION, ANYTHING BUT IT DID ALSO, THEN CAME THE JIM CROW LAWS IN THE SOUTH AND THEY PUT UP ALL THESE OTHER BARRIERS, EDUCATION, POLL TAXES, WEALTH, IT WAS HORRIBLE. WHAT STANTON, ANTHONY, AND A BUNCH OF OTHERS HAD LONG ADVOCATED WAS SOMETHING CALLED UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE, WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP. IF YOU’RE BORN IN THIS COUNTRY, IF YOU ARE A CITIZEN, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. IF YOU’RE A NATURALIZED CITIZEN, IT WOULD THEN FOLLOW, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THAT WOULD HAVE SOLVED ALL THESE PROBLEMS. AND IF THAT HAD BEEN IN THE 15TH AMENDMENT, INSTEAD OF JUST BLACK MEN, WOMEN WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO WAIT ANOTHER 50 YEARS TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE. >>>AND THEY ONLY GOT THAT UNDER THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT.>>>THEN CAME 1965. AND FINALLY, WOMEN, WOMEN AND MEN OF COLOR AND OTHERS GOT THE RIGHT TO VOTE THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE BEFORE. AND OF COURSE, VOTING RIGHTS WERE ALSO DENIED TO NATIVE AMERICANS, TO ASIAN AMERICANS, TO ALL SORTS OF MINORITY GROUPS WHERE LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES, STATES, SOMEHOW FIGURED OUT A WAY TO KEEP THEM OFF THE POLLS. >>>SO WHY WERE WE SO DELINQUENT IN RECOGNIZING THE ASPIRATION THAT WE’RE A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE?>>>ISN’T THAT AN INTERESTING QUESTION? I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. WE THINK OF OURSELVES AS THIS GREAT DEMOCRACY, WHICH WE ARE. WE THINK OF OURSELVES AS A GREAT EXPERIMENT, WHICH IT STILL IS. AND YET FOR ALL THESE YEARS, THERE WAS ALL THIS SILLY STUFF GOING ON. AND I THINK, AS YOU MENTIONED EARLIER, LOOK AROUND TODAY AND YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THIS THINGS. WHY, NOT ONLY WHY WERE MEN, SOME MEN, MOST MEN OPPOSED TO THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR WOMEN? WHY WERE MOST WOMEN ORIGINALLY OPPOSED TO THEIR OWN RIGHT TO VOTE? >>>NOW, HOW MANY WOMEN WERE ENFRANCHISED, GIVEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE? >>>I THINK THE NUMBER WAS 27 MILLION AT THE TIME. AND THEN THE BIG QUESTION WAS, WOULD IT WORK? AND THAT FIRST ELECTION IN 1920 –>>>AND THIS DOESN’T COUNT MINORITY WOMAN? >>>YEAH. AT THE TIME THERE WERE 27, I BELIEVE –>>27 MILLION WHITE WOMEN?>>>NO, NO, NO. 27, THERE WERE 27 MILLION WOMEN OF VOTING AGE AT THE TIME. I THINK THAT NUMBER IS RIGHT.>>>BUT MANY OF THEM COULDN’T VOTE BECAUSE –>>>NO, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. STARTING IN 1920, SO WHEN THE 19TH AMENDMENT IS RATIFIED AND GOES INTO EFFECT ON AUGUST 26TH OF 1920, WHICH WE CELEBRATE NEXT YEAR, 27 MILLION ARE NOW ELIGIBLE, LET’S PUT IT THAT WAY, TO GO TO THE POLLS. IN FACT, A LOT OF THEM WERE HELD BACK. IN FACT, ONLY ABOUT 9 MILLION VOTED, AROUND 35%. AND IT REFLECTED MANY THINGS. MANY WERE, SOME WERE BARRED, MANY WERE SCARED, MANY JUST DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I QUITE LOVE ABOUT THE WHOLE, THE CONTINUITY OF IT ALL, IS THAT THE NATIONAL AMERICAN WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION, WHICH IS THE BIG GROUP, THAT GIANT GROUP THAT FOUGHT FOREVER, ON AUGUST 26TH 1919 IT IMMEDIATELY BECAME THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS. SO THE SAME WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAD FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE NOW BECAME THE ONES TO TEACH US HOW TO USE THAT RIGHT TO VOTE. >>>SO I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU LYNN SHERR. WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE, WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE FACT THAT A PLURALITY OF THEM, AT LEAST WHITE WOMEN, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP? ARE THEY BEING COMPLICIT IN THE SPOILS OF THE PATRIARCHY BECAUSE THEY’RE SHARING IN THEM? >>>I CAN’T ANSWER THAT QUESTION WITH ANY REAL SPECIFICITY. I CAN TELL YOU THAT FOR MANY CENTURIES, MANY WOMEN HAVE PREFERRED BEING ON THE PEDESTAL THAN BEING DOWN IN THE TRENCHES WITH EVERYBODY ELSE. MANY WOMEN HAVE ENJOYED THEIR PRIVILEGE. MANY WOMEN HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD WHAT THEY THINK THEIR ROLES ARE OR CHOSEN A ROLE THAT DOESN’T REFLECT WHAT THE MAJORITY FEEL. I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER.>>>WE DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. SO LYNN SHERR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING BY. THIS HAS BEEN JUST WONDERFUL. >>>THANK YOU, JIM. >>>CONGRATULATIONS ON 2020. AND I THINK IT’S A CAUSE FOR ALL OF US TO CELEBRATE AND THANK YOU FOR COMING BY. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE CONVERSATIONS. I’M JIM ZIRIN. TAKE CARE AND ALL THE BEST. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *