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Eighth Conference of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance

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Eighth Conference of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance occurred June 6–12, 1920, in Geneva, Switzerland.

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  • American Imperialism: Crash Course US History #28
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Episode 28: American Imperialism Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse U.S. History and today we’re gonna talk about a subject near and dear to my white, male heart: imperialism. So, here at CrashCourse we occasionally try to point out that the U.S., much as we hate to admit it, is actually part of a larger world. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, you mean like Alaska? No, Me from the Past, for reasons that you will understand after your trip there before your senior year of college, I do not acknowledge the existence of Canada’s tail. No, I’m referring to all of the Green Parts of Not-America and the period in the 19th century when we thought, “Maybe we could make all of those green parts like America, but, you know, without rights and stuff.” Intro So, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of expansion and colonization in Asia and Africa, mostly by European powers. As you’ll know if you watched Crash Course World History, imperialism has a long, long history pretty much everywhere, so this round of empire building is sometimes called, rather confusingly, New Imperialism. Because the U.S. acquired territories beyond its continental boundaries in this period, it’s relatively easy to fit American history into this world history paradigm. But there’s also an argument that the United States has always been an empire. From very early on, the European settlers who became Americans were intent on pushing westward and conquering territory. The obvious victims of this expansion/imperialism were the Native Americans, but we can also include the Mexicans who lost their sovereignty after 1848. And if that doesn’t seem like an empire to you, allow me to draw your attention to the Russian Empire. Russians were taking control of territory in Central Asia and Siberia and either absorbing or displacing the native people who lived there, which was the exact same thing that we were doing. The empires of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were different because they were colonial in their own special way. Like, Europeans and Americans would rule other places but they wouldn’t settle them and more or less completely displace the native people there. (Well, except for you, Australia and New Zealand.) American historians used to try to excuse America’s acquisitions of a territorial empire as something of an embarrassing mistake, but that’s misleading because one of the primary causes of the phenomenon of American imperialism was economics. We needed places to sell our amazing new products. And at the time, China actually had all of the customers because apparently it was opposite day. It’s also not an accident that the U.S. began pursuing imperialism in earnest during the 1890s, as this was, in many ways, a decade of crisis in America. The influx of immigrants and the crowded cities added to anxiety and concern over America’s future. And then, to cap it all off, in 1893 a panic caused by the failure of a British bank led the U.S. into a horrible economic depression, a great depression, but not The Great Depression. It did however feature 15,000 business failures and 17% unemployment, so take that, 2008. According to American diplomatic historian George Herring, imperialism was just what the doctor ordered to help America get out of its Depression depression. Other historians, notably Kristin Hoganson, imply that America embarked on imperial adventures partly so that American men could prove to themselves how manly they were. You know, by joining the Navy and setting sail for distant waters. In 1890, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published “The Influence of Seapower upon History” and argued that, to be a great power like Great Britain, the U.S. needed to control the seas and dominate international commerce. Tied into this push to become a maritime power was the obsession with building a canal through Central America and eventually the U.S. decided that it should be built in Panama because you know how else are we gonna get malaria. In order to protect this canal we would need a man, a plan, a canal. Panama. Sorry, I just wanted to get the palindrome in there somewhere. No we would actually need much more than a man and a plan. We would need ships and in order to have a functioning two-ocean navy, we would need colonies. Why? Because the steamships at the time were powered by coal and in order to re-fuel they needed coal depots. I mean, I suppose we could have, like, rented harbor space, but why rent when you can conquer? Also, nationalism and the accompanying pride in one’s “country” was a worldwide phenomenon to which the U.S. was not immune. I mean, it’s no accident that the 1890s saw Americans begin to recite the pledge of allegiance and celebrate Flag Day, and what better way to instill national pride than by flying the stars and stripes over … Guam. So pre-Civil War attempts to expand beyond what we now know as the continental United States included our efforts to annex Canada, which were sadly unsuccessful, and also filibustering, which before it meant a senator talking until he or she had to stop to pee was a thing where we tried to take over Central America to spread slavery. But, the idea of taking Cuba persisted into the late 19th century because it is close and also beautiful. The Grant administration wanted to annex it and the Dominican Republic, but Congress demurred. But we did succeed in purchasing Canada’s tail. You can see how I feel about that. To be fair, discovery of gold in the Yukon made Seward’s icebox seem like less of a Seward’s folly and it did provide coaling stations in the Pacific. But we could have had rum and Caribbean beaches. Ugh, Stan, all this talk about how much I hate Alaska has me overheated, I gotta take off my shirt. Ughhh. Waste of my life. So hard to take off a shirt dramatically. I’m angry. Anyway, coal stations in the Pacific were important because in 1854 we “opened” Japan to American trade by sending a flotilla of threatening black ships under Matthew Perry. No Stan, not that Matthew Perry. You know better. By far, America’s best piece of imperial business before 1898 was Hawaii. Like, I like oil and gold as much as the next guy but Hawaii has pineapples and also had sugar, which was grown on American owned plantations by Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and native workers. Treaties between the U.S. and the Hawaiian governments exempted this sugar from tariffs, and America also had established a naval base at Pearl Harbor, which seemed like a really good idea...then. We eventually annexed Hawaii in 1898 and this meant that it could eventually become a state, which it did in 1959, two years before Barack Obama was born in Kenya. And this leads us nicely to the high tide of American imperialism, the Spanish-American-Cuban-Fillipino War. The war started out because native Cubans were revolting against Spain, which was holding on to Cuba for dear life as the remnant of a once-great empire. The Cubans’ fight for independence was brutal. 95,000 Cubans died from disease and malnutrition after Spanish general Valeriano Weyler herded Cubans into concentration camps. For this Weyler was called “Butcher” in the American yellow press, which sold a lot of newspapers on the backs of stories about his atrocities. And at last we come to President William McKinley who responded cautiously, with a demand that Spain get out of Cuba or face war. Now Spain knew that it couldn’t win a war with the U.S. but, as George Herring put it, they “preferred the honor of war to the ignominy of surrender.” Let that be a lesson to you. Always choose ignominy. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. I’m either right or I get shocked. Alright, let’s see what we’ve got today. With such a conflict waged for years in an island so near us and with which our people have such trade and business relations; when the lives and liberty of our citizens are in constant danger and their property destroyed and themselves ruined; where our trading vessels are liable to seizure and are seized at our very door by warships of a foreign nation, the expeditions of filibustering that we are powerless to prevent altogether -- all these and others that I need not mention, with the resulting strained relations, are a constant menace to our peace, and compel us to keep on a semiwar footing with a nation with which we are at peace. Thank you, Stan. This is obviously President William McKinley’s war message to Congress. You can tell it’s a war message because it includes the word “peace” more than the word “war.” By the way, it’s commonly thought that the President McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war, he didn’t; he let Congress take the lead. That’s the only time that’s ever happened in all of American history, which would be more impressive if we had declared war more than 5 times. So, the document shows us that, at least according to McKinley, we officially went to war for American peace of mind and to end economic uncertainty. It was not to gain territory, at least not in Cuba. How do we know? Because Congress also passed the Teller Amendment, which forswore any U.S. annexation of Cuba, perhaps because representatives of the U.S. sugar industry like Colorado’s Senator Henry Teller feared competition from sugar produced in an American Cuba. Or maybe not. But probably so. Also not the cause of the war was the sinking of the USS Maine. The battleship which had been in Havana’s harbor to protect American interests sank after an explosion on February 15, 1898 killing 266 sailors. Now, most historians chalk up the sinking to an internal explosion and not to Spanish sabotage, but that didn’t stop Americans from blaming the Spanish with their memorable meme: “Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain.” Let’s go to the Thoughtbubble. The actual war was one of the most successful in U.S. history, especially if you measure success by brevity and relative paucity of deaths. Secretary of State John Hay called it a “splendid little war” and in many ways it was. Fighting lasted about 4 months and fewer than 400 Americans were killed in combat, although 5,000 died of, wait for it, disease. Stupid disease, always ruining everything. There weren’t a ton of battles but those that happened got an inordinate amount of press coverage, like the July attack on San Juan Hill at the Cuban city of Santiago, led by future president Theodore Roosevelt. While it was a successful battle, the real significance is that it furthered Roosevelt’s career. He returned a hero, promptly became Governor of New York and by 1900 was McKinley’s vice president. Which was a good job to have because McKinley would eventually be assassinated. A more important battle was that of Manila Bay in which commodore George Dewey destroyed a tiny Spanish fleet and took the Philippines. This battle took place in May of 1898, well before the attack on Cuba, which strongly suggests that a war that was supposedly about supporting Cuban independence was really about something else. And what was that something else? Oh right. A territorial empire. As a result of the war, the U.S. got a bunch of new territories, notably the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. We also used the war as an opportunity to annex Hawaii to protect our ships that would be steaming toward the Philippines. We didn’t annex Cuba, but we didn’t let it become completely independent, either. The Platt Amendment in the Cuban Constitution authorized American military intervention whenever it saw fit and gave us a permanent lease for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Thanks Thoughtbubble. So, Cuba and Puerto Rico were gateways to Latin American markets. Puerto Rico was particularly useful as a naval station. Hawaii, Guam, and especially the Philippines opened up access to China. American presence in China was bolstered by our contribution of about 3,000 troops to the multinational force that helped put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. But in the Philippines, where Americans had initially been welcome, opinion soon changed after it became clear that Americans were there to stay and exercise control. Emiliano Aguinaldo, leader of the Filipino rebellion against Spain, quickly turned against the U.S. because his real goal was independence and it appeared the U.S. would not provide it. The resulting Philippine War lasted 4 years, from 1899-1903. And 4,200 Americans were killed as well as over 100,000 Filipinos. The Americans committed atrocities, including putting Filipinos in concentration camps, torturing prisoners, rape, and executing civilians. And much of this was racially motivated and news of these atrocities helped to spur anti-imperialist sentiment at home, with Mark Twain being one of the most outspoken critics. Now, there was some investment in modernization in the Philippines, in railroads, schools, and public health, but the interests of the local people were usually subordinated to those of the wealthy. So, American imperialism in short looked like most other imperialism. So Constitution nerds will remember that the U.S. Constitution has no provision for colonies, only territory that will eventually be incorporated as states. Congress attempted to deal with this issue by passing the Foraker Act in 1900. This law declared that Puerto Rico would be an insular territory; its inhabitants would be citizens of Puerto Rico, not the United States and there would be no path to statehood. But this wasn’t terribly constitutional. Congress did extend U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917. Now it’s a commonwealth with its own government that has no voice in U.S. Congress or presidential elections and no control over its own defense or environmental policy. The Philippines were treated similarly to Puerto Rico, in a series of cases between 1901 and 1904 collectively called the Insular Cases. But Hawaii was treated differently. Because it had a sizeable population of American settlers who happened to be white. Ergo, it became a traditional territory with a path to statehood because white people and also pineapples. Now let’s briefly talk about anti-imperialism. There were lots of people who objected to imperialism on racial grounds, arguing that it might lead to, like, diversity. But there were also non-racist anti-imperialists who argued that empire itself with its political domination of conquered people was incompatible with democracy, which, to be fair, it is. The Democratic Party, which had supported intervention in Cuba, in 1900 opposed the Philippine War in its platform. Some Progressives opposed imperialism too because they believed that America should focus on its domestic problems. Yet those who supported imperialism were just as forceful. Among the most vocal was Indiana Senator Albert Beveridge who argued that imperialism was benevolent and would bring “a new day of freedom.” But, make no mistake, underneath it all, imperialism was all about trade. According to Beveridge, America’s commerce “must be with Asia. The Pacific is our ocean … Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer.” In the end, imperialism was really driven by economic necessity. In 1902, Brooks Adams predicted in his book The New Empire that the U.S. would soon “outweigh any single empire, if not all empires combined.” Within 20 years America would be the world’s leading economic power. We didn’t have the most overseas territory, but ultimately that didn’t matter. Now, the reasons for imperialism, above all the quest for markets for American goods, would persist long after imperialism became recognized as antithetical to freedom and democracy. And we would continue to struggle to reconcile our imperialistic urges with our ideals about democracy Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, Rosianna Rojas, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Every week there’s a new caption for the libertage. You can suggest captions in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. This is the part where Stan gets nervous, like, is he gonna go this way or this way or this way? I’m going this way. Imperialism -



On call of its president, Carrie Chapman Catt, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance was summoned to its eighth congress June 6–12, 1920, in Geneva, Switzerland, seven instead of the usual two years after the last one. The reason for the long gap was the outbreak of World War I in 1914.[1]

On Sunday morning, June 6, for the first time in the history of Geneva a woman spoke in the National Church, the  Cathedral of St. Peter; A. Maude Royden of Great Britain preached in French and English to an audience that filled the cathedral. That morning at 9 Father Hall, sent by the Catholic ecclesiastical authorities from England for the purpose, delivered a sermon to the congress at a special mass in Notre Dame. In the afternoon, a reception was given by Emilie Gourd, president of the Swiss National Suffrage Association, in the Beau Sejour garden. At a public meeting in the evening at Plainpalais, M. J. Mussard, president of the Canton of Geneva; Chaponniere Chaix, president of the Swiss National Council of Women, and Mlle. Gourd gave addresses of welcome, to which responses were made by Annie Furuhjelm, Finland; Mme. De Witt Schlumberger, France, and Anna Lindemann, Germany, officers of the Alliance. Catt then delivered her president's address. She described the physical, mental and moral chaos resulting from the war, the immense problems now to be solved.[1]

Catt showed how the suffrage had come in some countries where no effort had been made for it, while in others where women had worked the hardest they were still disfranchised, and she gave a scathing review of the situation in the United States, where it had been so long withheld. She paid eloquent tributes to Susan B. Anthony, a founder of the Alliance, and to Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who had helped to found it and had attended every congress but had died the preceding year. She pointed out to the enfranchised delegates the great responsibility that had been placed in their hands and through it the vast power they would have in re-creating the world and said: "I believe had the vote been granted to women twenty-five years ago, their national influence would have so leavened world politics that there would have been no world war." Among the many objects for the Alliance to accomplish she named the following: (1) Stimulate the spread of democracy and through it avoid another world war; (2)Discourage revolution by demonstrating that change may be brought about through peaceful political methods; (3) Encourage education and enlightenment throughout the world; (4) Keep the faith in self-government alive when it fails to meet expectations. Methods for achieving these results were suggested and it was impressed on the younger women that this would be their task, as the older ones had practically finished their work.[1]

A few of the delegates wished to disband the Alliance; a few others desired to change the character of its objects, but by an overwhelming majority it was voted to continue it along the original lines, although broadened, until the women of all countries were enfranchised. The Congress was held in the Maison Communale de Plainpalais, the large town hall in a suburb of Geneva, and here one evening its municipality gave a reception to the members. The shady gardens and sunny terrace were the scene of many social gatherings.1 The congress opened with a roll call of the suffrage victories and the responses showed the almost unbelievable record that twenty countries had enfranchised their women during the years of the war! The Official Report was edited by Miss Chrystal Macmillan, recording secretary of the International Alliance, and the Introduction was a graphic review, which said in part:[1]

"Despite the difficulties of travel and the fact that only three months' notice had been given the gathering at Geneva was more widely representative than any previous meeting. Women were present from thirty-six countries. Of the twenty-six affiliated with the Alliance at the time of the last meeting, in 1913, the auxiliaries of nineteen showed their continued vitality by sending fully accredited delegates to Geneva. Representatives were also present from the former auxiliaries in Austria and Germany, who were accorded full membership rights. The Russian national president, a fugitive from her country, was unable to come but sent her greetings. The Belgian society abstained from taking part and from the Polish and Portuguese auxiliaries no answer was received.

Four countries, Greece, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay, sent delegates from newly formed National Suffrage Societies, which were accepted in the Alliance. In addition there were present women from Armenia, the Crimea, Lettonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey and the Ukraine. For the first time women from India and Japan came to tell of the beginnings of the organized movement among the women of the East. It was only the difficulties of travel which prevented the delegates who had started on their journeys from China, Egypt and Palestine from arriving in time for the congress. For the first time more than half the voting delegates represented countries in which women had the full suffrage. The consequent increased political importance of the congress was recognized by the governments of the world, of which eighteen in Europe appointed official representatives, and the United States of America and Uruguay of South America. The Secretariat of the League of Nations also sent a representative.

The outstanding feature of the first business session was the announcement of particulars by representatives of the many nations which had given the political and suffrage eligibility to women between 1913 and 1920—Austria, British East Africa, Canada, Crimea, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Lettonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Rhodesia, Russia, Sweden, the Ukraine and six more of the United States. It was announced that women sit as members of Parliament in the majority of these countries, while large numbers are members of municipal councils. In the United States of America the Federal Suffrage Amendment had passed both Houses of Congress and had been ratified by thirty-five of the necessary thirty-six States. Serbia, Belgium and Roumania had granted Municipal suffrage to women and the Zionists of Palestine and the Commune of Fiume had given to them full equal suffrage and eligibility. ... It was decided to arrange at the next congress a session at which only enfranchised women should speak. . . . The Catholic Woman Suffrage Society of Great Britain was accepted as a member of the Alliance.

On Monday, a special feature was the speeches of five women members of Parliament—Helen Ring Robinson (State Senate), Colorado; Elna Munch, Denmark; Annie Furuhjelm, Finland;  Lady Astor, Great Britain; Tekla Kauffman, Wurtemberg. In all, nine women members of Parliament attended the Congress. The others, who spoke at later meetings, were Frau Burian and Adelheid Popp of Austria; Mme. Petkavetchaite of Lithuania and Adele Schrieber-Krieger, whose election to the German Reichstag was announced during the Congress. On Wednesday at the great meeting in the Hall of the Reformation, three-minute speeches were given by representatives of each of the enfranchised countries in the Alliance. Yet another new aspect was illustrated by the meeting of Thursday, addressed by women from India and China. The speeches showed how similar are the difficulaies of the women of both the East and the West and how much new ground has still to be broken before the object of the Alliance is achieved."[1]

The forenoons were devoted to business meetings relating to the future work of the Alliance and they were in session simultaneously in different rooms in the great building—Women and Party Politics, Legal Status of Women, Civil Equality, Economic Value of Domestic Work of Wives and Mothers, Equal Pay for Equal Work, Single Moral Standard, Protection of Childhood— questions affecting the welfare of all society in all lands, pressing for solution and in all practically the same. The afternoons were given largely to the reports from many countries.[1] The Woman's Leader, organ of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship of Great Britain, in its account of the Congress said:[1]

The effect of these reports was intensely dramatic, mingled, as it inevitably was, with the memories of the strange and bitter conditions under which the change had come. In some of the countries that had been at war enfranchisement came in the midst of revolution, riot and disaster; in others it came fresh and new with the beginning of their independent national life and almost as a matter of course. "Our men and women struggled together for our national freedom," said delegate after delegate from the new States of Europe, "and so when any of us were enfranchised we both were." The report on the election of women to national or municipal bodies was deeply interesting and in many respects surprising. Germany easily surpassed other countries in this respect, having had 39 women members in the last National Assembly, 155 in the Parliaments of the Federated States and 4,000 on local and municipal bodies. In Denmark the record of success that followed the election of women was astonishing.[1]

Catt, president of the Alliance, welcomed each new representative in the name of all the countries, and, although the victories had been won in times of stress and war, the rejoicing was without rivalry, for in the Congress from the first day until the last no sign or mark of ill-feeling or enmity was to be found. Not that the delegates forgot or disregarded the recent existence of the war; no one who saw them would suppose for a moment that they were meeting in any blind or sentimental paradise of fools. Their differences and their nations' differences were plain in their minds and they neither forgot nor wished to forget the ruined areas, the starving children and the suffering peoples of the world. They met differing perhaps profoundly in their national sentiment, their memories and their judgments but determined to agree where agreement was to be found; to understand where understanding could be arrived at and to cooperate with the very best of their will and their intelligence in assuring the future stability of the world.[1]

An important report was that of the Headquarters Committee, consisting of Catt, Mrs. Millicent Garrett Fawcett, first vice-president of the Alliance, Adela Stanton Coit, treasurer, and Miss Macmillan. Mrs. Coit was chairman the first two years and Mrs. Fawcett the rest of the time. After the Congress at Budapest in 1913 the official monthly paper Jus Suffragii was removed from Rotterdam to London and the international headquarters established there. For the next seven years the three members of the committee resident in London held regular meetings, seventy altogether, consulting Mrs. Catt by letter or cable when necessary. Miss Mary Sheepshanks was editor and headquarters secretary. "She occupied that post with great acceptance till 1919," said the report, "when it was with much regret that her resignation was accepted. Mrs. Elizabeth Abbott was appointed to the place, where in connection with the preparations for the present Congress her organizing capacity has been of special value." Rosika Schwimmer of Hungary was appointed press secretary to furnish the news to the international press but her work had hardly begun when the war broke out and she resigned the position to take up work for peace.[1]

The report told of the meeting of the international officers and a number of the national presidents which took place in London in July, 1914, to make arrangements for the Congress in Berlin the next year. Among the many social receptions given were one in the House of Commons and one at the home of former Prime Minister Balfour. Mrs. Catt had just started on her homeward voyage when the war began. The officers in London at once issued a Manifesto in the name of the Alliance and presented it to the British Foreign Office and the Ammbassadors and Ministers in London, which after pointing out the helplessness of women in this supreme hour said: "We women of twenty-six countries, having banded ourselves together in the International Woman Suffrage Alliance with the object of obtaining the political means of sharing with men the power which shapes the fate of nations, appeal to you to leave untried no method of conciliation or arbitration for arranging international differences which may help to avert deluging half the civilized world in blood." They decided to cooperate with the British branch of the Alliance in a public meeting, which was held August 3 with Mrs. Fawcett in the chair, and a resolution similar to the above was adopted. In the next issue of the International News, when war had been declared.[1]

Fawcett and Catt were preparing to send a deputation from the Alliance to the Peace Conference to ask for a declaration for woman suffrage when the National Woman Suffrage Association of France, through its president, Mme.  de Witt-Schlumberger, took the initiative and called for the national associations of the allied countries to send representatives to Paris to bring pressure on it. They were cordially received by the members of the Conference and a pronouncement in favor of the political equality of women and eligibility to the secretariat was placed in the constitution of the League of Nations, which attracted the attention of the world.[1]

When the plan of holding the Congress of the Alliance at Berlin in 1915 had to be given up Holland sent an urgent invitation for that year but its acceptance was not considered feasible. The Swedish Auxiliary wanted it held at the time and place of the Peace Conference but this was found to be inadvisable. The majority of the officers and auxiliaries in the various countries wished to have a congress the next spring after the Armistice but there proved to be insurmountable obstacles. Toward the end of 1919 an invitation was accepted from the suffrage societies in Spain to come to Madrid in 1920. Preparations were under way when local opposition developed which made it necessary to abandon the plan. Switzerland had already invited the congress and it gladly went to Geneva.[1]

In the report of Mrs. Coit, the treasurer, she said:

"You will remember that at Budapest in 1913 a sum of about 2,000 pounds was raised, mostly by promises of yearly donations for the period of two years. This sum was to finance headquarters and the paper till we met in Berlin in 1915. In August, 1914, not even all the first instalments had been received, and from then on, owing to war conditions, it became impossible for some of our biggest donors to redeem their pledges. By the beginning of 1917 we found ourselves with an empty exchequer and facing the possibility of closing down our work. It was then that help came from our auxiliary in the United States. Mrs. Catt, with the help of her many devoted friends, raised a sum of $4,333, which was placed at our disposal and has enabled the Alliance to keep going. When speaking of the United States' help I wish to make special mention of the splendid work for the Alliance by Miss Clara M. Hyde, private secretary for Mrs. Catt. To her incessant interest and energy it is due that the number of honorary associates in the U. S. A. now is at least three times as high as in any other country; also she has quite trebled the number of subscribers to the International News in the States. Her devoted work is an example of what can be done by a single national auxiliary to further the development of the Alliance, and I recommend her example for universal imitation."[1]

The United States Auxiliary continued to add to the above sum and from May, 1916, to May, 1920, it sent in membership dues, subscriptions to the paper and donations $9,337. Mrs. Frank M. Roessing, president of the Pennsylvania Suffrage Association, was responsible for collecting over $5,000 of this amount.The money for the Congress in Geneva, about $3,500, was raised by a British committee of which Rosamond Smith was chairman and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, treasurer. To this fund the United States, which had not suffered from the war to the extent of European countries, was a large contributor. At the close of the congress, there were no funds on hand for the coming year and the delegates from all countries were feeling the effects of the war financially. At this critical moment,  Katharine Dexter McCormick of the US, corresponding secretary of the Alliance, made a contribution of $5,000, and a little later, the Leslie Commission added $4,000. This, with individual subscriptions, raised the amount of about $15,000 and guaranteed the expenses for resuming and continuing the work of the Alliance.[1]

From the organization of the Alliance in Berlin in 1904 Catt had been the president and at no election had there been another candidate. Her strong desire to relinquish the office was overruled at Budapest. She went to Geneva with the positive determination not to accept it again but she faced an equally determined body of delegates. Not only was she supported by all from the Allied Countries, as they were known during the war, but she was equally acceptable to those from the Central Countries. She was literally compelled to retain the office.[1]

Nominations for the other officers were made by ballot and submitted to the convention and the 10 receiving the highest number of votes constituted the board. They were as follows: Mme. DeWitt Schlumberger (France), Chrystal Macmillan (Great Britain), Anna B. Wicksell (Sweden), Margery Corbett Ashby (Great Britain), Dr. Margherita Ancona (Italy), Anna Lindemann (Germany), Eleanor Rathbone (Great Britain), Katharine Dexter McCormick (US), Mme. Girardet-Vielle (Switzerland), Adele Schreiber-Krieger (Germany). Most of them were officers of the National Association in their own countries. Rathbone was also a member of the city council of Liverpool.[1]

Among the 22 sent as Government delegates were Viscountess Astor, Marie Stritt, and Addie Worth Bagley Daniels. Invited members were present from nine countries, including ten from India, one from Japan and the wife of the Tartar president of the Parliament of Crimea. There were fraternal delegates from six international associations; from associations in nearly every country in Europe (fourteen in Great Britain) and from South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Uruguay. Greetings were sent from associations in many countries including China.[1]

A number of the resolutions adopted were foreshadowed in the report of the proceedings. Others were for the equal status of women with men on legislative and administrative bodies; full personal and civil rights for married women, including the right to their earnings and property; equal guardianship of their children by mothers; that the children of widows without provisions shall have the right to maintenance by the State paid to the mothers; that children born out of wedlock shall have the same right to maintenance and education from the father as legitimate children, and the mother the right of maintenance while incapacitated. Resolutions called for the same opportunities for women as for men for all kinds of education and training and for entering professions, industries, civil service positions and performing administrative and judicial functions, and demanded that there shall be equal pay for equal work; that the right to work of women, married or unmarried, shall be recognized and that no special regulations shall be imposed contrary to the wishes of the women themselves. A higher moral standard for both men and women was called for and various resolutions were adopted against traffic in women, regulations of vice differentiating against women and State regulation of prostitution.[1]

The Congress took a firm position on the League of Nations and its recognition of women in the following resolution: "The women of thirty-one nations assembled in congress at Geneva, convinced that in a strong Society of Nations based on the principles of right and justice lies the only hope of assuring the future peace of the world, call upon the women of the, whole world to direct their will, their intelligence and their influence towards the development and the consolidation of the Society of Nations on such a basis, and to assist it in every possible way in its work of securing peace and good will throughout the world."[1]

A resolution was adopted that a conference of representative women be summoned annually by the League of Nations for the purpose of considering questions relating to the welfare and status of women; the conference to be held at the seat of the League, if possible, and the expenses paid by the League. The Board instructed Margery Corbett Ashby to arrange a deputation to the League of Nations to present resolutions and to ask for the calling of the conference as soon as possible. On the last day of the Congress, the State Council of the Canton and the Municipal Council of Geneva gave an official reception and tea to the delegates and visitors.[1]

See also


  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: E. C. Stanton, S. B. Anthony, M. J. Gage, I. H. Harper's "History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920" (1922)
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Stanton et al. 1922, pp. 859-871.


  • Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Anthony, Susan B.; Gage, Matilda Joslyn; Harper, Ida Husted (1922). History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920 (Public domain ed.). Fowler & Wells.
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