Alice Paul was born on January 11,1885,
in Moorestown, New Jersey. Her father, who
died when Alice was sixteen, was a businessman,
banker, and property owner. The Pauls lived in the
small Quaker community of Moorestown. One of
the beliefs of the Quakers was equality of the sexes.
As a young girl, Alice attended the Quaker suffrage
meetings with her mother.
Alice Pauls’ father left them enough
money so she could attend the exclusive Swarthmore
College in Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1905 as
senior year, she went on to attend the New York
School of Philanthropy. She majored in sociology,
and spent all of her spare time working for the
woman suffrage in New York.
In 1907, Paul earned a master’s degree
in sociolgy. She went to England to continue her
work toward her doctorate degree. She was begin-
situation by social work alone, but needed to
either England or America to change any law.
The suffrage movement was different
in England than in the States. British suffragists
disrupt the meetings by shouting questions, wave
banners and be arrested.
was warned of possible imprisonment. This threat
did not prevent her from sneaking into political
events. She was arrested ten times in England,
prison, she continued to protest the government’s
not eating. She was force-fed for four weeks.
She returned to America in 1910, where
she continued her studies and her suffrage work.
She brought back from England with her the same
tactics used to get the attention of the newspapers
and the government. She brought the wild suffragette
movement back to the United States.
She teamed up with Lucy Burns, who
to the National American Women Suffrage
Association and proposed forming a committee to
lobby congressmen for a national suffrage
vice president but were told they would have to
raise their own funds.
They began by organizing a volunteer
network then decided to bid for national attention.
Their first appearance as a committee was a
celebration parade for the inauguration of President
Woodrow Wilson. This would certainly be heard
throughout the nation. In just a few weeks they
had over 8,000 marchers representing states, colleges,
and even some other nations. They included 26 floats
depicting women’s lives and hardships. This was
the first procession of women in our nation for
any cause. This parade caused so much excitement
that it brought the women suffrage movement into
the headlines. By that summer both houses of
congress were discussing women suffrage.
Alice Paul then began publishing a
weekly newspaper, The Suffragist, in November of
1913. In the issues to follow they spoke of injustice
and the laws affecting the interest of women.
In April 1916, the National Women’s
Party was established as a political party. This party
did not endorse any candidate but only woman
suffrage. The Democrats and Republicans were
beginning to realize the women’s votes could
definitely influence the election.
For the first time in American politics,
both parties included support for women in their
campaign platforms. Woodrow Wilson was elected
in spite of his demeaning behavior to women, so,
on January 10, 1917, one day after his inauguration,
Alice Paul and her organization began picketing
On April 6,1917, America went to
war. The picketers began to use the war to
make their points. There were many arrests of the
picketters to follow, the fines were larger and the
prison terms longer and harsher. Alice Paul was
arrested on October 20 and served seven months,
which was the longest term ever served for women
suffrage. The cells were unclean, with rotten food,
parasites, and police brutality. She was put in a
awakened every hour by inspectors or insane
inmates. But the truth began to reach the public.
Released suffrage prisoners, wearing prison
uniforms, travled on "The Prison Special" and
told of terrible conditions. One week later Paul
President Wilson began urging members
of the House and Senate to vote for the nineteenth
amendment, but kept losing. Then in October 1918,
he pleaded for woman suffrage as part of the
war effort. The amendment was passed in 1920,
right to vote.
She did not stop there. In 1922, she
received her Law degree and in 1928 formed
Pauls equal rights amendment was "Equality of
rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any State on account
Living in Switzerland, she encouraged
an Equal Rights Treaty and a World code of Law.
Equality was then written into the United Nations
Paul fought for equal rights the rest of
her life, nationaly and internationally. In1977, at
the age of 93, she died in her childhood town of
Alice Paul was a remarkable, unstop-
road we now walk.