Alice Paul's Life Story and Her Impact on Women's Representation

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In 1977, Alice Paul passed away and abandoned us all. It has been 60 years since the Nineteenth Amendment put a stop to the fight for women's suffrage. Fortunately, thanks to her biography A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for Ballot, we have a thorough understanding of the challenges and contributions of a woman who helped to change the world for women in the twenty-first century. In her entire existence, she had encountered a lot. She has experienced everything you can think of in her lifetime, from material comfort to significant changes in education, from political action to her ultimate goal of ending women's suffrage. She was unable to witness the equal rights amendment, but it was only her activism that eventually resulted in the Nineteenth Amendment leading to a woman's right to choose the government.

Alice Stokes Paul’s came as a blessing to the world on 11th of January in the year 1885 in New Jersey. William Paul was a president in the Burlington County Trust Company which was the primary source of income for Paul family. Her upbringing taught her the importance of benefiting the society, equality of the gender, focusing on the non-materialistic things and modesty (Butler 54).

Alice was a hardworking student throughout her school years as well as an evident player of numerous sports as a child. She attended College in the year 1901. Her grandfather was the founder of the college, and it was a family tradition to attend the particular college. During the period she studied in Swarthmore, she was an executive member of the student government that ignited in her ad a spark for political activism.

Alice Paul credited her mother for introducing her to the concept of women rights and fight for the struggle. That is how she became the exuberant woman and started the Woman's Suffrage Movement. Her mother was an avid and active member of National American Women's Suffrage Association, and Alice accompanied her to some meetings which further deepened her interest in the cause (Graham 666). Tacie Paul probably did not know at the time, but her introducing Alice to the struggle for suffrage has led to the Women’s Suffrage Movement till date.

How Alice Paul Affected Women's Representation

Alice started her political activism in the year 1907 in England. Alice was 22 when she went to England in the Woodbrooke Settlement to gain experience in the social work (Taylor 762). She was a reserved person initially, but during her time in England, she became the one we know today. She met a few Pankhurst women along with militant suffragettes who were raising awareness regarding the issues women faced during that timeframe. She joined their cause, personally broke 48 windows and got arrested on numerous occasions while protesting.

Alice, along with the Pankhurst woman, came up with the idea of extreme actions that would draw the attention to an important cause. She returned to the United States in the year 1910 and began deploying militant tactics to promote her cause. However, this led to starting her career as a suffragette in the USA. The most significant organization fighting for women Women's Suffrage during that time was the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. The leader of the group was Carrie Chapman Catt. She was a firm believer in a modest kind of political activism.

Between the years of 1910 to 1913, the primary focus of NAWSA was to pass legislation to the state and the local levels. The organization focused on including male members into the goal with an idea of influencing male legislators. The moderate approach was not working for NAWSA which was evident to Alice Paul who decided to adopt a different strategy.

Alice Paul gained a Congressional Committee and decided to create a group of suffragists for a march around the essential buildings. The governments chosen had firm political hold and could bring about change. 3rd of March, in the year 1913, was the day of the March. It was only a day before President Wilson's inauguration. The march is still regarded as the best protests and certainly the biggest one in America and holds vital importance in the woman's rights community.

Alice went on to establish a suffrage organization under her name; Lucy Burns was one of the founders along with Alice. She was also one of the leading ladies of the cause of her time. After her separation from the former organization, she shifted her attention entirely to National Woman’s Party then known as CU.

The party was known for the Suffrage Movement of the Women and made the passing of Nineteenth Amendment possible. Then came one of the most amazing moments of all the significant ways she was able to achieve that was by picketing campaign. Jan 10, 1917, marks the date when a vast number of suffragists stood at the front of White House by marching down the Pennsylvania Avenue.

Females of varying ages, classes, and races held signs asking the President what he was going to do about the women suffrage; this changed the mindset of American policymakers and shook the perspective of the world as well.

The flare-up of the USA contribution in the World War I denoted a basic change in people in general study of the protestors. Before the war, President Wilson along with people in general disposition toward the protestors was gentle and even thoughtful after about 17 months of the entire picketing effort. Though President and policymakers had recognized the protestors empowering them or notwithstanding giving them extra pieces of attire amid the chilly months, when the USA profoundly entered World War I the popular conclusion transformed to that of despise blaming the ladies for being non-American. The difference in the assessment was the aftereffect of a significantly more radical type of picketing presented by Miss Paul.

In spite of the USA association in the war, Alice Paul along with its members kept on picketing President Wilson at the White House. It was the sentiment of the NWP that the USA and the President were acting as charlatans for battling in a fight that advanced majority rules system in the Europe when popular government was declined to ladies in the United States.

Alice Paul even went similarly as utilizing standards that by and by humiliated the Wilson’s Government and straightforwardly citing from his discourses about the fight. She said that they should battle for the rights that we have held continuously closest to our souls, for majority rule government, for the privilege of the individuals who respond to the specialist to gain a right to select their legislatures was what the president said.

Alice Paul's assault amid wartime caused not just a concise dispute of open help for the protestors yet additionally caused a reaction amongst numerous people. These attacks were viewed as unpatriotic and a danger to the United States government. Therefore, the general population began to end up noticeably disturbed with the kept picketing of the White House, so passers-by started assaulting the protestors, taking their pennants, and actuating viciousness. Besides, the force in authority never went to the guide of the protestors and began to capture them on charges of impending activity instead.

On one of the events, picketing to demonstrate that the National Woman's Party would not surrender its battle Alice Paul was captured and taken to Occoquan Workhouse, which was utilized as a jail in Virginia. Due to such acts against the protestors, Alice started to use more radical strategies to demonstrate the ability of ladies to exist in governmental issues. Alice Paul's radicalism extended in the Workhouse and filled in as the most vital part of the entry of the Women’s Right to Vote.

The Workhouse in itself was an awful situation for its occupants. Besides, they were swarmed with an assortment of creature life. On 20th of October, 1917, Miss Paul was condemned to a half year in the jail and precisely ten days after the fact, on 30th of October, the year 1917, she started to utilize her radical challenge strategies again by beginning a yearning strike. As indicated by an article distributed by the New York Times on November 7, 1917 (Hawranick 191). Alice Paul trusted that an appetite strike is an adequate peak, for the present at any rate, to their endeavors to compel President Wilson to indorse lady suffrage by the Constitutional Amendment and would turn around the poor treatment of the detainees as well as guarantee the treatment of the suffragists as that of political detainees. With an end goal to discourage the appetite strikes, jail authorities started to feed Alice Paul three times day by day forcibly.

Alice was put into isolation, denied of her rest by being stirred with lights occasionally for the duration of the night, and in the end put into the mental ward. Like this, the jail and the Wilson Administration trusted that Alice Paul would be analyzed as rationally crazy, which would end the authenticity of her authority of the National Women's Party.

As Alice Paul was put under mental assessment, her conclusions of President Wilson were addressed. However, not even once did she allude to him as an individual adversary. Consequently, Alice Paul was viewed as rational by a therapist who portrayed her as a saint and contrasted her assurance with Joan of Arc. More so, he clarified that Paul was ready to accomplish the section of a national change authorizing ladies' suffrage regardless of the possibility which implied death.

The protestors who were detained at Occoquan Workhouse which also included Alice Paul utilized the painful condition as used to impel the Movement considerably further. The chances started to work for these detainees when news began to unroll of their ill behavior inside Occoquan. The unrolling of the behavior, the NWP, notably Alice Paul, abruptly got sensitivity and assistance from a portion of the general population, the media, and legislators.

The new emotionally supportive network started to contend for the prompt arrival of the suffragist detainees which conveyed expanded help to the NWP. After her discharge from jail, Alice Paul continued protesting along with her friends; however, less intense than some time recently. Be that as it may, this proceeded with the weight of thorough political exertion by Alice Paul; in the end, she made President Wilson invert his sentiment on ladies' ballot.

When World War I ended, Wilson urged councils to proceed with the Nineteenth Amendment. Thus, on 10 of January, 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment appeared in Congress House with the correct 66% greater part necessity. Soon the modification was confirmed by the date; finally, the women's right to vote was added to the Constitution on 26th of August, 1920. That was a significant achievement for Alice and all the women who stayed persistent for their rights.


After achieving her goal in the shape of Nineteenth Amendment, Alice Paul proceeded on to her next venture: the fight for achieving equal rights for women. Unfortunately, she did not see her next cause come to reality in her lifetime. Alice Paul is not only the founder of Women’s Right to Vote campaign but an inspiration for many. Her strong personality, sense of self-belief, and consistency has done a lot for women around the world and being a strong foundation for future reforms.

Works Cited

Butler, Amy E. Two Paths to Equality: Alice Paul and Ethel M. Smith in the ERA Debate, 1921

1929. SUNY Press, 2012.

Hawranick, Sylvia, Joan M. Doris, and Robert Daugherty. "Alice Paul: Activist, advocate, and

one of ours." Affilia, 23.2 (2008): 190-196.

Graham, Sally Hunter. "Woodrow Wilson, Alice Paul, and the Woman Suffrage

Movement." Political Science Quarterly, 98.4 (1983): 665-679.

Taylor, Verta. "Social movement continuity: The women's movement in abeyance." American

Sociological Review, (1989): 761-775.

July 07, 2023
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