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PROFILE IN COURAGE: Carrie Chapman Catt

27 Aug

PROFILE IN COURAGE: Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie was born in 1859 in Wisconsin. According to lkwdpl. org there were two important moments in her life that helped form this suffragist. At 13 she asked her mother why she couldn’t go and vote with her father and was met with laughter and the explanation that voting was an important civic duty that should be left to the men. The next was in high school. After being introduced to Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ theory, she embraced philosophy and evolution and then applied it to improving the world with a peaceful and fair society.

She attended college at Iowa state and afterwords she worked as a law clerk, a school teacher, and a principal in Mason City, Iowa. At 24 she became the first women appointed superintendent of schools. In 1885 she married Leo Chapman who would later die of typhoid fever. In 1890 she married George Catt.

Catt joined the Iowa Woman’s Suffrage Association and went on to start organizing local suffrage movements throughout the state. In 1890 she became a delegate to the national convention. She became the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1890 to 1900. She worked hard throughout this time by leading campaigns in an attempt to amend the constitution which they got in 1920. Catt founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA). This group became recognized by a congress made up of Australia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the U.S. in 1902. She became its first president in 1923.

From there she continued her suffrage work on a national level. In 1911 she began her world tour through Sweden, Europe, Africa, India, Sumatra, the Philippines, China, Korea and Japan, among others. While in these places, she helped found other organizations and observed the women from these places. Later, she became the president of the League of Women Voters and by 1924, she spent a lot of her time working on pacifism in the aftermath of World War I. In that attempt, she organized the National Conference on the Cause and Cure of War.

Carrie Chapman Catt died of a heart attack in New Rochelle, New York on March 9, 1947

“Just as the world war is no white man’s war, but every man’s war, so is the struggle for woman suffrage no white woman’s struggle, but every woman’s struggle.” – Carrie Chapman Catt

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