Cynthia Boaz, Political Science, discusses her work "The Sufferin' Suffragists": An Analysis of the Strategy and Tactics that Gave Women the Vote" on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from noon to 1 p.m. in Stevenson 2011.
"Historians often remember women's suffrage as a right that was the "granted" or "given" to women by male legislators. But in fact, it was a long, hard-fought struggle that, at the end of the day, almost failed to achieve its objectives thanks to the combined opposition of the "antis", the white slavers, big business, and the liquor industry," says Boaz.
Although many structural conditions, such as the economic situation, racial tension, cultural norms, lack of political space and legal restrictions predicted failure for the suffrage movement, the strategic skills of the suffragists, including the capacity to marshal resources, understanding of the opponent, ability to maintain nonviolent discipline and keep the moral high ground, combined with strong leadership to trump conditions, and gave women the first great victory for the extension of civil rights and democracy of the 20th century, says Boaz.
"The lessons learned by the suffragists would later be applied in the civil rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s," Boaz says.
The discussion is part of the Tuesday School of Social Sciences Brown Bags which is free and open to faculty, staff, students, and the community.