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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Parade Sparks Rifts in the Movement

The old battle cries no longer stir our souls. Give us new banners for our times, let us have new leaders, and what we need most is undoubtedly a new battle cry to stir the dormant souls of American men and women.

—Anna Howard Shaw, 1911

The March 3, 1913, parade foreshadowed the pattern of events that characterized the relationship between President Woodrow Wilson and suffragists over the next seven years—public demonstrations, presidential disregard, mob violence, police inaction, and increasing public sympathy. Beginning with the parade, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns energized the movement and soon thereafter broke from NAWSA, eventually forming the National Woman’s Party (NWP). In America, voting rights could be conferred by either the states or the federal government, meaning that activists need not focus all their attention on Washington. Anna Howard Shaw, Carrie Chapman Catt, and other NAWSA leaders worried that confrontational tactics would endanger state victories and antagonize Congress. They felt that targeting the party in power was self-defeating in the United States, where bipartisan coalitions were needed to achieve the required two-thirds majority vote in Congress and ratification by the states.