On the March

National Woman’s Party Fights for Enfranchisement as Congress Takes on Germany

Posted September 21, 2004 at 1:51pm

It seems like almost every day someone is leading a protest outside the Capitol, whether it’s over taxes, the war in Iraq, health care, or any other of myriad issues.

Nearly a century ago, the National Woman’s Party picketed in front of the Capitol on April 3, 1917, the day after President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany.

Hoping to bring attention to that fact that American women had not yet attained full citizenship (they could not yet vote) even while Wilson was campaigning to spread democracy abroad, members of NWP took to the streets of Capitol Hill.

While they did not make an immediate impact, these women were ultimately successful in 1920, when the 19th Amendment, enfranchising women, was added to the Constitution.

Today, NWP has two goals: to end all forms of discrimination and to preserve the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, which has served as the party’s headquarters since 1929.