NAWSA Lobbying of Congress


The NAWSA's Congressional Committee, or "Front Door Lobby" as Congressmen referred to it, pushed Congress to pass the Shafroth-Palmer and Susan B. Anthony Amendments. The lobby was highly organized. The NAWSA Congressional Committee attempted to show Congress that the public supported suffrage and that witholding suffrage from women violated the principles of democracy that the US was founded upon. The documents below illustrate these ideas.

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Unpublished Correspondence 1918 Unknown Dates
Unpublished Reports
Published Pamphlets, Reports, Articles 1913 1915 1916 1917


Park, Maud Wood. Front Door Lobby. Boston: Beacon Press, 1960.


Hoerger, Kathleen. What Lobbying Tactics Did Suffragists Use to Obtain Congressional Approval of a Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 1915-1919? Last updated 5/98.

Unpublished Correspondence


Maud Wood Park to Congressional Chairmen. 29 March 1918.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 4, folder 39.
Park instructs NAWSA members to get non-suffrage organizations to pass pro-suffrage resolutions which would then be read into the Congressional Record and get media attention.

Christine Bradley South to Maud Wood Park. 16 Aug. 1918.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 4, folder 39.
South describes how a new newspaper owner in Frankfort, Kentucky discouraged her from visiting her Senator Beckham to ask him to support suffrage because "the Senator would resent appearing to have been changed by a delegation of women". Newspaper owner had another plan to get the Senator to support suffrage.

Maud Wood Park to Congressional Chairmen. 5 Oct. 1918.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 4, folder 39.
Park reports that the Anthony Suffrage Amendment did not receive a two-thirds majority in the Senate. She urges chairmen to write letters to their senators thanking them for voting for the amendment.
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Unknown Dates

Letters to Carrie Chapman Catt from US Senators and Representatives.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 4, folder 45.
Most letters in this collection are replies to Catt's letters and demonstrate Congress' feelings toward suffrage.
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Unpublished Reports


Catt, Carrie Chapman. Testimony in front of Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage. 20 April 1917.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 1, folder 11.
Catt defends the act of granting suffrage to women during wartime. "The hearts of women would beat more happily could they feel that our own government had been true to the [democracy] standard it now proposes to unfurl upon an international field."

Author unknown. Minutes of the Meeting of the Members of Congress from the Suffrage States. 31 Aug. 1917.
SSC. Catt Collection. Box 1, folder 18.
Members present discussed "advancing House Resolution No. 12--a resolution providing for a Committee on Woman's Suffrage in the House". Members decided that supportive representatives would canvass representatives from non-suffrage states. Minutes include NAWSA's plan of action to advance the Resolution.
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Published Pamphlets, Reports, and Articles


Author unknown. Senate Calendar No. 52, 63rd Congress, First Session Report No. 64. Woman Suffrage. 13 June 1913.
SSC. US Suffrage Collection. Box 1, folder 46.
Report from Committee on Woman Suffrage to accompany Senate Joint Resolution No. 1. It is a favorable report and states that the resolution should have a complete hearing because as tax-paying, self-sacrificing, productive, law-abiding members of society women deserve to vote.

Author unknown. "US Senate Petitions for Woman Suffrage." Congressional Record 31 July 1913.
SSC. US Suffrage Collection. Box 1, folder 44.
Article lists petitions in favor of Senate Joint Resolution No. 1, the Anthony Amendment. It includes Senators' discussion of why women should or should not get suffrage. Senators from suffrage states describe the success of suffrage in their states.
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NAWSA. "Statement from Congressional Committee." NAWSA Headquarters Newsletter 15 Jan. 1915.
SSC. US Suffrage Collection. Box 7, folder 124.
Article describes the commitment of the Congressional Committee to advancing suffrage. It includes a list of Representatives who voted for the Mondell Suffrage Resolution.
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Author unknown. Woman Suffrage: Hearings Before the Committee on Woman Suffrage, United States Congress, 64th Session, First Session on Senate Joint Resolution 1: A Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the US Extending the Right of Suffrage to Women and Senate Joint Resolution 2 (Same). Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1916.
SSC. US Suffrage Collection. Box 1, folder 52.
Includes statements of Carrie Chapman Catt, Anne Martin, and others at a hearing called by the NAWSA. Catt attacks the reasoning of Senators who argue against suffrage. She declares that some Senators claim women have not shown that they want suffrage, while other Senators claim that women have been too emphatic about wanting the vote.
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Author unknown. Woman Suffrage: Hearing Before the Committee on Woman Suffrage, US Senate, 65th Congress, 1st Session on Senate Joint Resolution. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 20 April 1917.
SSC. US Suffrage Collection. Box 1, folder 56.
Catt organized this hearing and recruited pro-suffrage Senators to speak in favor of the Resolution and gave them talking points to use during their testimony.
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