Southern Promise and Necessity: Texas, Regional Identity, and the National Woman Suffrage Movement, 1868-1920
Description: This study offers a concentrated view of how a national movement developed networks from the grassroots up and how regional identity can influence national campaign strategies by examining the roles Texas and Texans played in the woman suffrage movement in the United States. The interest that multiple generations of national woman suffrage leaders showed in Texas, from Reconstruction through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, provides new insights into the reciprocal nature of national movements. Increasingly, from 1868 to 1920, a bilateral flow of resources existed between national women's rights leaders and woman suffrage activists in Texas. Additionally, this study nationalizes the woman suffrage movement earlier than previously thought. Cross-regional woman suffrage activity has been marginalized by the belief that campaigning in the South did not exist or had not connected with the national associations until the 1890s. This closer examination provides a different view. Early woman's rights leaders aimed at a nationwide movement from the beginning. This national goal included the South, and woman suffrage interest soon spread to the region. One of the major factors in this relationship was that the primarily northeastern-based national leadership desperately needed southern support to aid in their larger goals. Texas' ability to conform and make the congruity politically successful eventually helped the state become one of NAWSA's few southern stars. National leaders believed the state was of strategic importance because Texas activists continuously told them so by emphasizing their promotion of women's rights. Tremendously adding credibility to these claims was the sheer number of times Texas legislators introduced woman suffrage resolutions over the course of more than fifty years. This happened during at least thirteen sessions of the Texas legislature, including two of the three post-Civil War constitutional conventions. This larger pattern of interdependency often culminated in both sides-the Texas and national ...
Date: August 2010
Creator: Brannon-Wranosky, Jessica S.