Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Women's History


Women’s History Graduate Program

First Advisor

Gerda Lerner

Second Advisor

Miriam Conant


A great deal has been written on the women's rights movement of the early twentieth century from the perspective of its national leadership and the national suffrage organizations. Less research has focused on suffrage activities on the state level. The purpose of this essay is to examine the efforts of women in Connecticut to extend their political power; to analyze their ideas, goals, and tactics; to make some observations about feminist leadership; and to investigate the activities of politically-minded women in the years immediately following their enfranchisement.

As a result of this study, we may question the characterization of suffrage activists as middle-class conservatives who sought to participate in government, but who otherwise accepted the social, economic, and political status quo. The evidence in Connecticut demonstrates the depth of the suffragists' commitment to egalitarian and humanitarian goals. Moreover, it reveals the strength of the opposition to reform by entrenched politicians and the obstacles which women faced in their efforts to continue the movement towards a just and humane society.