Carrie Catt, Belle La Follette, and How the Battle for Woman Suffrage was Won
From 1915-1920, Ripon-born Carrie Catt led two million women in the National American Woman Suffrage Association to successfully lobby for passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. An organizational genius and brilliant political tactician, her leadership was one of the most important factors in the victorious campaign for woman suffrage. She later was a founder of the League of Women Voters.
Summit, WI native Belle La Follette was a leading suffragette who wrote a pioneering column in La Follette’s Weekly (later renamed The Progressive Magazine) advocating for women’s rights and suffrage, testified before the US Senate Committee on Woman’s Suffrage, and spoke throughout the country for women’s suffrage, including giving speeches for sixty four consecutive days to advance the cause. Through her efforts, Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the woman suffrage amendment six days after the Senate passed the Susan B. Anthony constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote in 1919. Belle also was a co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
2019 will be the 100th anniversary of many states including Wisconsin ratifying the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. In 2008, author and Professor Dr. Bob Kann, wrote the biography Bob and Belle La Follette: Partners in Politics, which was published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Hear tales of La Follette, Catt, and other amazing stories of the courage, perseverance, and political savvy which enabled three generations of women over a seventy-two year period to successfully agitate to win the vote. Experience the drama of the crucial vote for ratification by a young Tennessee legislator who explained, “… I knew that a mother’s advice is always safest for a boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.”