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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Helen H. Gardener (1853–1925) to Woodrow Wilson, November 27, 1918. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (115.02.00)
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Helen H. Gardener (1853–1925) to Woodrow Wilson, November 27, 1918. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (115.02.01)
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Carrie Chapman Catt (1859–1947) to Woodrow Wilson, November 26, 1918. Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (115.00.00)
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Suffrage “Ocean to Ocean” before the Next Election

Despite personal appeals from President Wilson to pass women’s suffrage as a war measure, the Senate delayed action for ten months and then narrowly defeated the House-passed amendment on October 1, 1918. NAWSA vice president Helen H. Gardener wrote to the president on November 27, requesting that he make “the men and women of America and of the world feel the keen edge of your disapproval of the present humiliating status of American women.” NAWSA leader Carrie Chapman Catt then wrote an ingratiating letter to the president the following day, requesting “one more mention of the Federal amendment.” Catt optimistically predicted ratification by May. Wilson acquiesced in his December State of the Union Address, but Senate passage again fell short, this time by one vote on February 10, 1919.

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