Select Page

Address at
“Portrait Monument” Dedication

February 15, 1921 — Memorial Service, US Capitol, Rotunda, Washington DC


We are s solemnly gathered here to place a significant milestone on the long road of self-government, which has slowly widened to include one enfranchised group after another. There are many such milestones behind us. A thousand years ago, the English barons erected one when they secured their first political power, and ventures later merchants and traders placed theirs, to be followed by working men slowly and painfully building in one country after another.

Now at last the women are coming into their own. In victorious and defeated nations alike, they are fast receiving long withheld political power. 

But as we all know, the extension of the franchise, however normal and evolutionary it may seem in retrospect, did not come without effort and struggle on the part of those demanding it. None have worked more eagerly than women, and their victorious banner alone is free from the stain of blood.

The placing of this marble commemorates therefore much more than a grand achievement in the history of the United States, although such it deserves an honored place in this rotunda, because these pioneer suffragists whole we are met to commemorate, all Americans as they re, were the first women in any country to form a definite organization for the sole purpose of securing rights for women, including “the sacred right of the elective franchise.” They, therefore, became the pioneers of an historic movement not only of their own countrywomen, but also for the forward-looking women of the world. It is fitting that they should stand next to the grand emancipator of another group, who has long since transcended national boundaries. 



Source: Jane Addams Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.