Source: Film: Iron Jawed Angels (2004)

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"Alice Paul and her struggle both with the patriarchy and with the more cautious suffragettes."

From a mass e-mail sent out by Julie Nordgren at 2007-03-02 10:08 and another sent out by "Charis Walikonis, Jen Drake, and Amnesty Officers" at 2007-03-04 16:27:

A film which documents the National Women's Party's struggle between 1912 and 1920 for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women's right to vote. Prepare to be deeply moved. [...] Iron Jawed Angels' provocative cinematic style, witty screenwriting, spirited performances, and riveting subject redefine "period piece" and even make up for its title's lack of proper hyphenation. Ladies, you will never be more proud to be women. Gentlemen, you'll love the film, too, and gain a new respect for women's political journey for equality.

The film opens as Alice and Lucy return to the United States from wikipedia:England where they have been actively involved in the wikipedia:suffrage movement. As the duo becomes more active within the wikipedia:National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), they begin to realize that their ideas were much too radical for the established activists (particularly wikipedia:Carrie Chapman Catt). Both women eventually leave NAWSA and create the wikipedia:National Woman's Party (NWP), a much more radical organization dedicated to the fight for women's rights. Over time, tension between the NWP and NAWSA grows as NAWSA leaders criticize NWP tactics such as direct wikipedia:protesting of the President and wikipedia:picketing directly outside the White House. Relations between the American government and the NWP protesters also intensify, as hundreds of women are arrested for their actions, and treated under horrible conditions. During this time, Alice Paul and other women undergo a wikipedia:hunger strike during which prison authorities force feed them through a tube. News of their treatment leaks to the media through a Senator and husband of one of the imprisoned women (who, prior to this event, pushed for the arrest of protesters). As a result, pressure is put on President Wilson as NAWSA seizes the opportunity to lobby tirelessly for the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution. Paul, Burns, and all of the other women are eventually pardoned by the President and the Supreme Court rules that their arrests were, in fact, unconstitutional.

Burningbird » Learning Lessons from President Wilson ( Retrieved on 2007-03-05 22:25.

Oddly enough, this isn' t the first time that the DNC has encouraged women and other 'political minorities' to be patient. Back in the early 1900's, women's rights were tied into support for the Democratic party at the time, including support for Woodrow Wilson as President. Burns and Page, though, refused to endorse Wilson because he had not followed through on a promise to bring about the vote for women. They so outraged the Democratic Party, which after all had counted on the women's vote in those states where it was legal, that the Party hired counter-protesters to assure the populace that the rights of women were always on the minds of the DNC. Not to be deterred, another method Burns and Paul devised to fight for women's rights was based on tactics used in the suffrage movement in the UK. They started a silent protest out in front of the White House, the first of its kind practiced in the United States. The women would take banners proclaiming their hopes, and anger, and would stand silently on the walk in front of the White House, on either side of the main entry gates. This vigil continued peacefully enough, and even earned sympathy, until the United States entered World War I. In the past women had given up their fight for suffrage during times of war, most particularly the Civil War, and the assumption was that women would do the same in these circumstances. After all, how could women distract the government at a time when good American boys were dying overseas? This time, though, the women who continued this protest–several hundred strong–wouldn't back down on the issue, and continued the silent protest. The populace turned on the women protesters, accusing them of being traitors for not giving unquestioning loyalty to Wilson. The government arrested them on trumped up charges of obstructing traffic, and sentenced them to two months service in a working prison or ten dollars fine–expecting the women to pay the fine (and hopefully bankrupt the coffers of the organization). Instead, the women chose prison time, saying that to pay the fine would admit guilt and they were not guilty of anything but standing up for their rights. Over two hundred would end up serving sentences of several months duration in Occoquan, a work prison in Virginia. By all accounts, Occoquan was a hell hole, and the women were demeaned and treated harshly, as if they were common criminals rather than political detainees. To protest the conditions in the prison, Paul went on a hunger strike and was eventually force fed. Others joined the strike and the publicity derived from their efforts and the treatment afforded them eventually forced Wilson into publicly leading the cause for an amendment granting women the right to vote–calling the move a needed "war measure", to save face.

The LOC.GOV Wise Guide : 'I Protest!' ( Retrieved on 2007-03-05 22:48.

This presentation is a selection of 448 of the approximately 2,650 photographs in the Records of the National Woman's Party, housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Representing the militant wing of the suffrage movement, the National Woman's Party effectively commanded the attention of politicians and the public through its aggressive campaign of relentless lobbying, creative publicity stunts and disarming examples of civil disobedience. It used parades, demonstrations and picketing, as well as its members' arrests, imprisonment and hunger strikes, to spur public discussion and win publicity for the suffrage cause

The Silent Sentinels were a group of women in favor of women's suffrage organized by Alice Paul to protest in front of the White House during Woodrow Wilson's presidency. The protests started January 10, 1917 and lasted until June 1919 when the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed both the House of Representatives and Senate. During those two and a half years, more than a thousand different women picketed every day and night except Sunday.

They didn't want a martyr on their hands, so they force-fed her (at least I assume that's why they did it -- so she wouldn't die).

At their parade, people threw things at them and became violent with the peaceful paraders. [100 women were hospitalized.]

Let us remember the atrocities past so that we do not repeat them in the future. (self)


Photos: of picketers, suffragists, etc.

  • Catherine Flanagan and Gertrude Crocker being placed under arrest as they picket with banners before the White House East Gate. Arresting policewoman center, crowd behind. Banner reads: "How Long Must Women Wait For Liberty?" [1]
  • "Women voters vote against Wilson-Ashurst-Hayden. Their party opposes national woman suffrage. National Woman's Party." [2]

Quotes from movie


Alice Paul: We're legitimate citizens. We're taxed without representation. We're not allowed to serve on juries so we're not tried by our peers. It's unconscionable, not to mention unconstitutional. We don't make the laws but we have to obey them like children.


Alice Paul: I was put in a straight jacket and taken to the psychopathic ward. I could not see my family or friends, counsel was denied me. I saw no other prisoners and heard nothing of them. I could see no papers. Today I was force fed for the third time, I refused to open my mouth. My left nostril, throat, and muscles of my neck are very sore. I vomit continuously during the process.


Lucy Burns: Don't you ever want to get married?
Alice Paul: I'm busy that day.

[To do: get remaining quotes]

Picket banners / President Wilson's quotes that were used against him

When someone suggested that they arrest the picketers on charges of treason, they were reminded that they were the president's own words on those banners. (The [irony (category)] was hilarious.)

Some Wilson quotes from the banners that the picketers had...

  • "We shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments." (Address to Congress, asking for a declaration of war (April 2, 1917) [6])
  • "The time has come to conquer or submit, for us there can be but one choice. We have made it." [7] [8]
  • "Mr. President You Say 'We Are Interested In The United States Politically Speaking, In Nothing But Human Liberty'"; "Mr. President How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?"; "Mr. President You Say 'Liberty Is The Fundamental Demand of the Human Spirit'" [9]

Some other quotes from the banners that the picketers had...

  • "Kaiser Wilson Have you you forgotten your sympathy with the poor Germans because they were not self-governed? 20,000,000 American women are not self-governed. Take the beam out of your own eye." [10] [11]
  • "Mr. President How long must women wait for liberty" [12] [13] [14]
  • "We demand an amendment to the United States Constitution enfranchising women." [15]
  • "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage?" [16] [17]
  • "Democracy Should Begin at Home" [18] [19]
  • "We protest against the thirty-four willful senators who have delayed the political freedom of American women. They have obstructed the war program of the president. They have lined up the Senate with Prussia by their denial of self government to the people." [20] [21]
  • "To Ask Freedom for Women is Not a Crime. Suffrage Prisoners Should Not be Treated as Criminals." [22]
  • "We demand that the American Government give Alice Paul, a political offender, the privileges Russia gave Miyukoff." [23]
  • "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her self" [24] [25]


Not sure if these were used in the movie but they are good Wilson quotes on liberty:

  • "Just what is it that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another it is for the sovereignty of self-governing people." [28]
  • "The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty." [29]
  • "America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal - to discover and maintain liberty among men." [30]
  • "I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty." [31]
  • "The history of liberty is a history of resistance" [32]

Rights that were threatened/trampled on


Articles to separate fact from fiction  edit   (Category  edit) .

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