Post-1920: The Equal Rights Amendment
Alice Paul and the leadership of the NWP believed that suffrage was only one step in acquiring full equality for women. After the passage of the 19th Amendment, they began to focus on a national campaign to secure equal rights for women. In 1921, a delegation of 50 prominent party members called upon President Warren Harding to ask his aid in securing passage of an Equal Rights Bill in the next Congress. In 1922, the NWP succeeded in winning passage of the Cable Act, which allowed women to retain their U.S. citizenship after marrying a citizen of another country. In December 1923, Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment, which the NWP called the Lucretia Mott Amendment. Year after year, the proposed amendment was introduced in each new session of Congress. It was not until 1972 that both houses of Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. The amendment failed to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.
- Why do you think the NWP proposed passage of the Equal Rights Amendment? Do you think such an amendment was needed? Conduct research to find evidence supporting your answer.
- Read the “Historical Overview of the National Woman’s Party.” How would you summarize the role of the NWP in U.S. history? Create a gallery or slide show of photos that help explain the organization’s significance.