When most Americans consider the history and legacy of the women’s suffrage movement, they think of larger-than-life historical figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells, as well as momentous and impactful events like the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. In other words, people understand the suffrage movement based on the contributions made by people who actively advocated for the expansion of voting rights to women and who believed that, as equals, women should be able to help shape the institutions and policies that shaped their own lives.
On the other hand, fewer Americans today may know much about the communities of women who did not believe that women should have the right to vote. Many today may not know that this group even existed in the first place. After all, why would women oppose the expansion of their own basic rights and privileges?
Typically made up of women from more privileged social and economic backgrounds, the communities of women who opposed suffrage were called several different names, including “anti-suffragettes,” “antis” and “remonstrants.” One of the anti-suffrage groups who helped popularize the term “remonstrant” was the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women.Continue reading