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The Woman Suffrage Movement in America
A Reassessment


  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107567054

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About the Authors
  • This book departs from familiar accounts of high-profile woman suffrage activists whose main concern was a federal constitutional amendment. It tells the story of woman suffrage as one involving the diverse politics of women across the country as well as the incentives of the men with the primary political authority to grant new voting rights - those in state legislatures. Through a mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence, the book explains the success and failures of efforts for woman suffrage provisions in five states and in the US Congress as the result of successful and failed coalitional politics between the suffrage movement and important constituencies of existing male voters, including farmers' organizations, labor unions, and the Populist and Progressive parties.

    • Uses quantitative and qualitative evidence
    • Explains partisan politics of women's suffrage
    • Focuses on state level-politics and also explains the national outcome
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Rather than focusing on the activities and perspectives of women's rights activists, McConnaughy asks what strategic considerations might be involved in convincing legislators to expand the suffrage when such an expansion affects the probability of their own reelection. This book is an important contribution to the areas of gender and politics, race and politics, and social movements, and to our understanding of how policy is created.' Lee Ann Banaszak, Pennsylvania State University

    'McConnaughy provides a compelling and innovative explanation of why some women were able to win voting rights in their states while others had to wait for the federal amendment. This historically rich volume reveals that when male voters, particularly union members and organized farmers, supported woman suffrage, male lawmakers were willing to do so as well. This work nicely complements studies centered on the suffragists themselves. McConnaughy shifts the focus to the neglected but pivotal role of male political actors in gaining votes for women.' Holly McCammon, Vanderbilt University

    'This smart, discerning book provides new insight into an old story … In an account that goes beyond the usual focus on women's political activism, Corrine M. McConnaughy offers a refreshing take on a key set of puzzles about the timing and geography of the state suffrage efforts. Focusing on partisan dynamics within state legislatures she reveals that certain conditions, including the presence of third parties and higher levels of electoral competition, favored democratic expansion while others, including racial divisions and the desire to protect white voting rights, did not. This book not only makes an excellent contribution to our understanding of women's rights and American political development, but it is also a must-read for those seeking insight into the battles over voting rights occurring today.' Gretchen Ritter, Cornell University

    'The strategic, partisan incentives of legislators drive Corrine McConnaughy's sophisticated, multimethod treatment of how, why, and when women won suffrage in the states prior to federal adoption. The book reorients suffrage scholarship with a supply-side, programmatic enfranchisement model focused on existing voters and the coalitions that suffragists forged within states. By establishing the partisan incentives that shaped state legislator decisions, McConnaughy contributes to current debates about parties and democracy. The book also offers a fresh perspective on how and why race shaped opportunities for suffrage success and failure in the states, and throws light on the role of party politics in the battle for the federal suffrage amendment.' Kira Sanbonmatsu, Senior Scholar, Center for American Women and Politics, and Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

    'McConnaughy is to be commended for addressing an important question, for rightly focusing attention on the state-level campaigns where so much of the suffrage fight was won and lost, and for articulating a nuanced and original theory to explain variation in suffrage success. [Her] explanation resolves puzzles left unanswered by previous research and is simultaneously theoretically sophisticated and based in a deep understanding of 'real' politics on the ground.' Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame

    '[A] valuable addition to the literature on the woman suffrage movement.' Jill Frahm, H-SHGAPE

    'McConnaughy's book adds a valuable insight into the complexities of the women's suffrage movement.' Shannon M. Risk, Political Science Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107567054
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 1 map 30 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Bringing politics back in: suffrage supply and demand
    2. Political meaning for woman suffrage
    3. Programmatic enfranchisement: coalitional strategies for voting rights
    4. Strong leverage: third party support
    5. Coalitional impossibilities: race, class, and failure
    6. The national story
    7. From the outside in.

  • Author

    Corrine M. McConnaughy, Ohio State University
    Corrine M. McConnaughy is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. She was Assistant Professor of Government and was affiliated with the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas, Austin from 2004–7, and received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2004. McConnaughy's dissertation won a University-wide Honorable Mention as a Distinguished Dissertation at Michigan, as well as the Carrie Chapman Catt Award for research on women and politics from the Catt Center at Iowa State University. At Ohio State University, her work has been awarded a Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women Research Grant from the Department of Women's Studies. She is the recipient of the Lucius Barker Award from the Midwest Political Science Association (2011), and was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pi Sigma Alpha at DePaul University in 2010. McConnaughy is on the Executive Council of the Women and Politics Research section of the American Political Science Association, serving as its newsletter editor. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Studies in American Political Development, Politics and Gender, and American Politics Research.

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