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Summary Article: CATT, CARRIE LANE CHAPMAN (1859–1947) from Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2010

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was a former teacher and school superintendent who survived the deaths of two husbands to be a major force in the second generation of leadership in the movement for women's suffrage. This movement culminated in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

In 1889, Catt was elected secretary of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. In 1895, she chaired the National Organization Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA); in 1900, she succeeded Susan B. Anthony as president of that organization, serving until 1904. She also served as president from 1915 to 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment (also called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) was ratified. Catt was a strong organizer with a determined “faith in God's eternal law for the evolution of the race” (quoted in Fowler 1986, 57). Before her reelection as NAWSA president, Catt was active in the International Woman Suffrage Alliance as well as in the New York State Woman Suffrage Party. Catt's decision as NAWSA president “to concentrate on a constitutional amendment rather than proceeding state by state” (Fowler 1986, 30)—as many southern suffragette advocates who favored states' rights wanted (see Wheeler 1993)—is often credited with resulting in the ratification of the Anthony Amendment.

After states ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, Catt continued to be active in a number of concerns, including the League of Women Voters, which she founded in 1920, and several organizations devoted to world peace. Catt also helped organize the Woman's Centennial Congress of 1940.

See also Anthony, Susan Brownell; Nineteenth Amendment.

For Further Reading:
  • Fowler, Robert B. 1986. Carrie Catt: Feminist Politician. Northeastern University Press Boston.
  • Wheeler, Margorie S. 1993. New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States. Oxford University Press New York.
  • Copyright 2010 by ABC-CLIO, LLC

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