By Marjorie Spruill Wheeler
There's at present loads of curiosity within the Southern suffrage circulate, yet beforehand historians have had no finished historical past of the girl suffrage move within the South, the quarter the place suffragists had the toughest struggle and the least luck. this significant new publication makes a speciality of 11 of the movement's so much well-known leaders on the nearby and nationwide degrees, exploring the variety of critiques inside this staff, with specific emphasis on race and states' rights. Wheeler insists that the suffragists have been influenced essentially by means of the will to safe public confirmation of woman equality and to guard the pursuits of ladies, youngsters, and the bad within the culture of noblesse oblige in a brand new South they perceived as misgoverned through crass and materialistic males. A lively suffrage stream begun within the South within the Eighteen Nineties, even though, simply because suffragists believed providing lady suffrage as a manner of countering black balloting energy gave them an "expediency" argument that may succeed--even make the South lead the state within the adoption of girl suffrage. while this process failed, the circulate flagged, till the revolutionary circulate supplied a brand new motive for girl enfranchisement. Wheeler additionally emphasizes the connection among the Northern and Southern leaders, which was once one among mutual impression. This pioneering research of the Southern suffrage circulation could be necessary to scholars of the heritage of lady suffrage, American ladies, the South, the revolutionary period, and American reform events.
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Additional info for New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States
52 Even the Northern suffragists operating in the South, those notorious representatives of an alien culture, met with more curiosity than hostility. One of the foremost Southern Baptist leaders, J. B. " He warned the public to keep away from the suffragists' meetings, as their real purpose was to encourage the intermarriage of the black and white races, to break up the homes of America, and to degrade the morals of women. The delegates, however, were surprised and pleased by their reception; probably as a result of Hawthorne's diatribe the citizens of Atlanta packed lecture halls to catch glimpses of such creatures as Susan B.
28 II The campaign to restore and preserve white supremacy was a second aspect of the reactionary agenda of turn-of-the-century Southern whites. Like the effort to preserve the traditional role of woman, this movement had a profound impact on the woman suffrage movement in the South, delaying its development and impeding its progress. Unlike the woman suffrage movement in the North, which commenced in 1848 in an era of widespread regional support for universal manhood suffrage, the woman suffrage movement in the South 14 New Women of the New South began in the 1890s during a region-wide movement to contract the electorate and limit the vote to the "better classes" of whites.
Senator John Sharp Williams of Mississippi—who was at least slightly sympathetic to the desire of elite white Southern women for the vote—claimed that Southern white men would be reluctant to use against black women the violence that they regularly employed 18 New Women of the New South against black men; "we are not afraid to maul a black man over the head if he dares to vote, but we can't treat women that way. No we'll allow no woman suffrage. 41 As the movement to disfranchise blacks legally was underway in the 1890s, a few Southern politicians favored the suggestion put forward by suffragists (see Chapter Four), that they solve "the negro problem" through woman suffrage.