Saturday, August 13, 2016

August, 1916: Women's Suffrage

"An Addition to the Political Menagerie" by W. Hanny for St. Joseph News Press, Aug. 1916
In celebration of the first woman nominated by a major political party as its candidate for president of the United States, Stantonback Saturday presents some editorial cartoons from August, 1916, during the last presidential election held before the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Republican and Democratic party platforms in 1916 both supported women's suffrage only on a state-by-state basis (the Progressive Party had endorsed full women's suffrage in 1912). Women had the vote in twelve of the 48 states already, nearly all of them in the far west.

The Republican nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, went one step further than his party platform on August 1, 1916, endorsing a women's suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"The Summer Flirt!" by Chapin in St. Louis Republican, Aug., 1916
This also put Hughes a step ahead of the incumbent president, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who was on record against amending the Constitution. Suffragette Alice Paul had organized a march at his inauguration, and in 1916 co-founded the National Woman's Party with Lucy Burns. The NWP continued protesting for women's suffrage with marches and women chaining themselves to the White House fence again and again throughout his administration, but still Wilson held women's suffrage to be a states' rights issue.

"Mr. Hughes Kissed Her!" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post Dispatch, Aug. 1916
Suffragettes having gotten nowhere with Wilson, the Women's Committee of the Hughes Alliance raised over $132,000 from 1,100 contributors with which they organized and financed a special train to travel throughout the states where women had the vote. They held campaign rallies where women orators mobilized supporters to get out the vote for the Republican.
"What Will Poor Wilson Do Now?" by Raymond O. Evans in Baltimore American, Aug. 1916
Wilson did not come out in support of women's suffrage until September, 1918, tying it to the war effort (the U.S. having entered the war in April, 1917):
"I regard the concurrence of the Senate in the Constitutional amendment proposing the extension of suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of this great war of humanity in which we are engaged. ...
"This war could not have been fought, either by the other nations engaged or by America, if it had not been for the services of women – services rendered in every sphere – not merely in the fields of effort in which we have been accustomed to see them work, but wherever men have worked and upon the very skirts and edges of the battle itself. We shall not only be distrusted but shall deserve to be distrusted if we do not enfranchise them with the fullest possible enfranchisement."
"A New Friend" by Rollin Kirby for New York World, Aug. 1916
Meanwhile, back in 1916: Hughes's endorsement of women's suffrage was seized upon by Rollin Kirby and other Democratic-leaning cartoonists who pointed out the tension between Holmes's support from German-Americans and the suffrage movement's historic ties to the Prohibition movement. Prominent among German-American businesses were breweries and distilleries, which naturally did not welcome the financial ruin Prohibition promised them.

"Packing His Belongings" by Jonathan H. Cassel for New York Evening World, Aug. 1916
In Jonathan Cassel's cartoon, Hughes appears to cherish suffrage (that's a mirror, isn't it?) the most of all the issues in his carpetbag – Wall Street support; the late President of Mexico, Victoriano Huerta; Hyphen support (meaning non-WASP-Americans); military conscription; and the Trusts – as he heads off in pursuit of those western women's votes.

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