The Woman’s Suffrage Campaigns

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Hello, my name is Annabeth Wilder, and the year is 1919. The 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution was passed by the United States Congress on June 4, 1919, and was ratified on August 18, 1920.

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Before I get too involved with the story I would like to say that, the Night of Terror is the suffrage movement, and it is when women refused to put on prison uniforms or work. This movement began back in 1848, but lasted for decades, despite it being weakened sometimes. Especially during the Civil War. We always persisted and kept it up. Well, anyways I’m a middle aged woman on a hunger strike, in jail. Also, if you didn’t already know, I’m living during the time when the woman’s suffrage campaigns are going on.

The reason the Night of Terror happened was because some of us women stood in front of the White House to make the president pressure others to vote for the suffrage amendment. Those of us that did this were arrested, and held for about three days, but later they started holding us for anywhere from six days to six months. Those of us arrested called ourselves, political prisoners. Before the arrests were made, people were warned to not come back to protest for they would be arrested, but we did. People carried signs such as Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. After being released people would just return to the white house to protest. Putting some of us in prison didn’t stop new people from going to protest either. We were put in a prison called, Occoquan. Even though we were arrested, we refused to put on the uniforms or work. This made a worker for the prison, W.H. Whittaker, order the prison guards to act violent towards us, and they beat and kicked us. While some of us were forced to stand all night, some others were roughly thrown into their cells. The guards also allowed rats to get into our cells, and there were maggots in our food. They did not allow us to have privacy either. A guard would walk us to an open-stalled bathroom, where the toilet paper was guarded. It was as if we were in a zoo. Later on, we started a hunger strike until we were released. We refused to eat any food. This idea came from two women named, Rose Winslow and Alice Paul.

The same man who got the guards to beat us, W.H. Whittaker, got marine guards to watch the prison. Some people were force fed by doctors with a tube. This was very painful and embarrassing. This also caused most of us to throw up a lot, I would say, at least two times a day. I was later released after about six months since I was a first time offender.. I was very weak when i was released from the beatings and hunger strike. I could barely walk right. It was horrible, but very worth it. After I got back to somewhat normal, I returned to the White House to protest more.

What we did was basically torture, and to this day I am not sure how we got through it. It worked though. Later on about nine states allowed women to have the same rights as men. We still worked to get all states to allow women to have equal rights. It wasn’t until August 26, 1920, that about three quarters of legislatures ratify the nineteenth amendment. A year before that the amendment was passed, and the process to ratify it began. Finally, women had the right to vote.

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