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The Founding
of The League of Women Voters

March 24, 1919 — 50th Anniversary National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention, St. Louis MO


Every suffragist will hope for a fitting commemoration of this 50t hAnniversary of our national organization and the Golden Jubilee of the first grant of full suffrage to women. She will hope for a memorial dedicated to the memory of our brave departed leaders, to the sacrifices they made for our cause, to the scores of victories won.

She will not be content with resolutions of self-congratulation; with speeches of tribute; nor will any suffragist propose a monument build of marble which only a few would see and fewer comprehend. What then shall it be? I venture to propose a memorial whose benefits will bless our entire nation and bring happiness to the humblest of our citizens.

What vainglorious proposal is this, do you ask? I propose no marvel; merely the most natural, the most appropriate and the most patriotic memorial that could be suggested — a League of Women Voters to “Finish the Fight” and to aid in the reconstruction of the Nation.

What could be more natural than that women having attained their political independence should desire to give service in token of their gratitude? What could be more appropriate than that such women should do for the coming generation, what those of a preceding period did for them? What could be more patriotic than that these women should use their new freedom to make their nation safer for their children and their children’s children? I put the question to you, fellow suffragists; would not such a League express the spirit of our movement and our common feelings of gratitude upon this occasion more clearly than any other form of Memorial?

Let us then raise up a League of Women Voters — the name and form of organization to be determined by the voters themselves; a League that shall be non-partisan and non-sectarian in character and that shall be consecrated to three chief aims.

1.   To use its utmost influence to secure the final enfranchisement of the women of every state in our own Republic and to reach out across the seas in aid of the woman’s struggle for her own in every land.

2.   To remove the remaining legal discriminations against women in the codes and constitutions of the several states in order that the feet of coming women many find these stumbling blocks removed.

3.   To make our democracy so safe for the Nation and so safe for the world, that every citizen may feel secure and great men will acknowledge the worthiness of the American Republic to lead.



Source: Excerpts from “The Nation Calls,” Proceedings of the NAWSA National Convention, St. Louis, MO, March 294, 1919. LWV Papers on film, Part II, Series A, Reel 1, Frames 0021-32.


Also: For the Public Record: A Documentary History of the League of Women Women Voters, Ed. Barbara Stuhler, pp. 23-24.