Alice Paul

By | Jan 11, 2010

The United States was formed with the help of many women, such as Abigail Adams and Martha Washington along many others. During the 18th century there were others that helped keep the nation growing. Dolly Madison and even Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane. It wasn’t until the early part of the 20th century and the fights of women like Alice Paul that women finally was able to vote for their leaders.

Alice Paul along with Lucy Burns and others of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) carried the cause along in Washington DC in the 1910’s. Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885.

In 1916 the NWP began protesting outside the White House. These “Silent Sentinels” were still standing outside the White House after the United States entered World War I. Many felt that it was not patriotic. They were finally arrested on the charge of “obstructing traffic.”

They, Paul among them, refused to pay the fine and were sent to Occoquan Workhouse, a prison in Virginia. There these women continued to protest, using hunger strikes. Paul and several other suffragists were forcibly fed in a tortuous method.

Finally, in part due to the reports of the treatment of the women in prison, President Wilson and members of Congress agreed that women’s suffrage was urgently needed. This lead to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Alice Paul who had already received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1905, a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1912 continued her education. In 1922, she earned an LL.B. from the Washington College of Law, then earned an LL.M. from American University in 1927 and a Doctorate of Civil Law in 1928. She spend her life working with women rights issues. She died at the age of 92 on July 9, 1977.


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