Carrie Chapman Catt had a vision in 1920. With women’s suffrage giving a new voice to half of the United States’ population, she founded the League of Women Voters. In the early years, their primary concern was the status and rights of women, and a lot of their activities revolved around giving people the tools to use their new responsibility intelligently.
Carrie Chapman Catt put it this way: “The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?”
The league started in Chicago, but quickly spread across the states. By 1924, they were in 346 congressional districts. However, once the 1930s arrived—with it, the Great Depression and threat of war—membership and funding decreased drastically. Still, colleges were fertile ground for activism, and Mankato State Teachers College fostered plenty of progressive thinking.
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