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History Vault: Struggle for Womens Rights, Organizational Records, 1880-1990

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Struggle for Women's Rights, Organizational Records, 1880-1990 (Module 9)

As the movement for women’s suffrage in America was accelerating, the National Woman’s Party (NWP) brought to the campaign a new militancy and daring. Originally a committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the NWP was founded in 1913 when Alice Paul and her colleagues broke away from NAWSA in dissent over strategy and tactics.

The rift was permanent. The NWP’s use of confrontational tactics against the Wilson administration and such provocative wartime actions as picketing, demonstrations, and marches clashed with NAWSA’s more conservative approach to reform.

After the suffrage victory in 1920, the NWP turned its energy towards winning an equal rights amendment to the Constitution. Long before the ERA became a goal of the women’s movement mainstream, the party was clearly in the vanguard of evolving attitudes about women’s place in society.