Simon & Schuster, 2020
Agent: Sandra Dijkstra
Honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, this exciting history explores the full scope of the movement to win the vote for women through portraits of its bold leaders and devoted activists.
Distinguished historian Ellen Carol DuBois begins in the pre-Civil War years with foremothers Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth as she explores the links of the woman suffrage movement to the abolition of slavery. After the Civil War, Congress granted freed African American men the right to vote but not white and African American women, a crushing disappointment. DuBois shows how suffrage leaders persevered through the Jim Crow years into the reform era of Progressivism. She introduces new champions Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who brought the fight into the 20th century, and she shows how African American women, led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, demanded voting rights even as white suffragists ignored them.
DuBois explains how suffragists built a determined coalition of moderate lobbyists and radical demonstrators in forging a strategy of winning voting rights in crucial states to set the stage for securing suffrage for all American women in the Constitution. In vivid prose DuBois describes suffragists' final victories in Congress and state legislatures, culminating in the last, most difficult ratification, in Tennessee.
DuBois follows women's efforts to use their voting rights to win political office, increase their voting strength, and pass laws banning child labor, ensuring maternal health, and securing greater equality for women.
Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote is sure to become the authoritative account of one of the great episodes in the history of American democracy.
“Ellen DuBois tells us the long drama of women’s fight for the vote, without privileging polite lobbying over radical disobedience—or vice versa. In so doing, she gives us the gift of a full range of tactics now, and also the understanding that failing to vote is a betrayal of our foremothers and ourselves.”
“This is a great American story, beautifully told. Ellen DuBois enables us to appreciate the drama of the long battle for women's suffrage and the heroism of many of its advocates, as well as the movement's imperfections. At a time when many of our constitutional rights are under assault, this is an especially relevant piece of our national history.”
—Eric Foner, author of The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
“This book is a treasure! A wealth of material is gathered here on behalf of the stirring, seventy year struggle for the political enfranchisement of American women. Others have written about it before, but none as thrillingly, as freshly, and as comprehensively as does Ellen Dubois in this book. Suffrage deserves a permanent place on the ever-growing shelf of distinguished feminist history."
“Suffrage reads like an exciting novel. Ellen DuBois presents her well-researched history of women’s long battle for the vote through superb story-telling, in which the major personalities in the struggle to enfranchise women come alive in all their complexity. Though we know the story will end in the victory of the 19th Amendment, Suffrage is a page-turner.”
—Lillian Faderman, author of Harvey Milk and The Gay Revolution
"Suffrage takes us along the troubled road to votes for women, guided by Ellen DuBois, one of the best historians of the movement. Getting to a woman's suffrage amendment in 1920 was no straight path, and DuBois courageously wades into the fraught politics of pro- and anti-suffrage, chronicles moments of hope and despair, and turns deep research into a page-turner of a saga. This is no simple story about heroes—DuBois is honest about how racism limited the movement's scope and its influence. Still, the women of Suffrage teach essential lessons for our own time about how vision, vigilance, and risk-taking have always been the life-blood of the nation's best ideals. Their work of ensuring women's equality, DuBois makes plain, is not yet done."
—Martha S. Jones, author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900.
"DuBois, a history professor and woman suffrage scholar, meticulously and vibrantly chronicles every phase of this arduous, complicated, cross-country battle, profiling its leaders, tracking their evolving strategies, charting fissures within the movement, and
documenting the vehement, often underhanded opposition."
"This thorough, evenhanded presentation offers valuable lessons for readers interested in women’s rights and the history of progressive activism in America."