National Women’s Party Organizes White House Protests

1916

The National Women’s Party organizes protests at the White House in support of women’s voting rights. Mrs. S.H.B. Gray of Colorado writes, “I have no son to give my country to fight for democracy abroad, and so I send my daughter to Washington to fight for democracy at home.” Police arrest the demonstrators and charge them with obstructing traffic. Alice Paul, the party leader, argues to one judge: “We do not consider ourselves subject to this court, since as an disenfranchised class we have nothing to do with the making of the law which has put us in this position.” Some of those arrested refuse to pay their fines and are sent to prison. After the party publicizes the harsh prison conditions, President Woodrow Wilson pardons the protesters in December 1917.