Fighting for a woman's rights to vote, Alice Paul ignores the possibility of falling in love. She wants nothing to distract her from the cause. Then, America was thrust into World War I.
In a little-known story about the suffrage movement, a group of activists championing the right of women to vote, were imprisoned during the late summer and fall of 1917 after they failed to pay a fine of $10. What happened to them - including Lucy Burns and Doris Stevens - is dramatized in his clip from "Iron-Jawed Angels."
We learn about the events from the American Memory section of the Library of Congress:
Burns was a driving force behind the picketing of President Woodrow Wilson’s administration in Washington, D.C., beginning in January 1917. Six months later, she and Dora Lewis – targeting the attention of visiting Russian envoys – attracted controversy by prominently displaying a banner outside the White House declaring that America was not a free democracy as long as women were denied the vote.
When Burns participated in a similar action with Katharine Morey later the same month, they were arrested for obstructing traffic. The banners displeased President Wilson and escalated the administration’s response to the picketing.
Actions taken against the women, however, strengthen their resolve against the government's heavy-handed tactics.
Alice Paul - Chairman of the Congressional Committee
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns - Building the Base
Suffragette Parade - March 13, 1913
Success and Resistance - Alice Paul Keeps Fighting
Breaking Ranks within the Women's Movement
Lucy Burns - Let's Picket the White House
Lucy Burns - Imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse
Alice Paul - Occoquan Workhouse
Alice Paul - Force Feeding at Occoquan Workhouse
Victory - The 19th Amendment is Ratified
Clips online, courtesy HBO and YouTube. All copyrights/ownership rights belong to HBO. Provided here as "fair use" for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.
Katja von Garnier
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Hilary Swank - Alice Paul
Frances O'Connor - Lucy Burns
Molly Parker - Emily Leighton (a fictional character portrayed as a senator's wife)
Laura Fraser - Doris Stevens
Lois Smith - Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw
Vera Farmiga - Ruza Wenclawska (also known as Rose Winslow)
Brooke Smith - Mabel Vernon
Patrick Dempsey - Ben Weissman (a fictional character)
Julia Ormond - Inez Milholland
Adilah Barnes - Ida Wells-Barnett
Anjelica Huston - Carrie Chapman Catt
February 15, 2004
Quoted passages from an article by Sheridan Harvey, online at the Library of Congress - American Memory - web site.
For more details about this period of American history, as women struggled for the right to vote, see this American Memory story (in PDF format) from the Library of Congress.