Alice Stokes Paul, social reformer, lawyer, and political strategist, devoted her life to securing equality for women. She led the militant wing of the suffrage movement.
Born a New Jersey Quaker, Paul graduated from Swarthmore, then worked at the New York College Settlement.
She exhibited a flair for dramatic street theater, and ensured continuing publicity for the cause by the Party’s confrontations with President Wilson.
Influenced by their tactics, she introduced them in the U. S., “holding the Party in power responsible” for refusing to pass suffrage.
When she returnedto the U.S. she founded the Congressional Union (1913) whose sole purpose was to lobby for a constitutional amendment for suffrage.
Because she believed in changing tactics to advocate, she broke off from the parent NAWSA, which led her to form the National Woman’s Party in 1916.
She was arrested, imprisoned, went on a hunger strike, and was force-fed.
She founded the World Woman’s Party (1938), which worked to have equal rights for women included as a tenet in the United Nations Charter.
She opposed protective labor laws for women, causing a dramatic rift in the women’s movement lasting until the 1960s
In 1913 she organized the famed suffrage parade in Washington, vD.C. – a spectacle unequalled in suffrage history.
She introduced picketing at the White House and non-violent confrontation as protest tactics.
In England she joined the militant Pankhurst wing of British suffrage.
Paul earned a law degree from the Washington College of Law (1922) and an M. A. and Ph.D. from American University (1927-28).