Jailed for Freedom

Date(s): 1920
Material: Book

Jailed for Freedom offers Doris Stevens’ firsthand account of the National Woman’s Party campaign for the right to vote between 1913 and 1920.  Originally published in 1920, this book chronicles the organizations strategic and often radical tactics including the March 3, 1913 parade, the pickets at the White House and subsequent arrests, the hunger strikes and force-feedings, through the 1919 passage of the federal suffrage amendment in Congress.  Appendices include:

•    Text of the National Suffrage Amendment
•    Record of Action on National Suffrage Amendment in Congress
•    Countries in which women had the vote at the time of publication
•    A list of women who served prison sentences

Now out of print, the complete text is available online.

Excerpts from Jailed for Freedom:
“To Alice Paul through whose brilliant and devoted leadership the women of America have been able to consummate with gladness and gallant courage their long struggle for political liberty, this book is affectionately dedicated.”

Page vii: “This book deals with the intensive campaign of the militant suffragists of America to win a solitary thing-the passage by Congress of the national suffrage amendment enfranchising women. It is the story of the first organized militant, political action in America to this end. The militants differed from the pure propagandists in the woman suffrage movement chiefly in that they had a clear comprehension of the forces which prevail in politics.”

Page vii: “There are two ways in which this story might be told. It might be told as a tragic and harrowing tale of martyrdom. Or it might be told as a ruthless enterprise of compelling a hostile administration to subject women to martyrdom in order to hasten its surrender.”

Page 63: “When all suffrage controversy has died away it will be the little army of women with their purple, white and gold banners, going to prison for their political freedom, that will be remembered. They dramatized to victory the long suffrage fight in America. The challenge of the picket line roused the government out of its half-century sleep of indifference. It stirred the country to hot controversy. It made zealous friends and violent enemies. It produced the sharply-drawn contest which forced the surrender of the government in the second Administration of President Wilson.”

Page 343: “It has been a long, wearying struggle . . . . The relief that comes after a great achievement is sweet. There is no residue of bitterness. To be sure, women have often resented it deeply that so much human energy had to be expended for so simple a right. But whatever disillusionments they have experienced, they have kept their faith in women. And the winning of political power by women will have enormously elevated their status.”

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The book is available online through Google Books or Project Gutenberg