Freeman on Strategic Use of Wagons – Elisabeth Freeman


I participated in a zoom presentation sponsored by the Historic Society of Woodstock. on Sat. Oct. 1oth known as “Standing on Their Shoulders: 100 Years of Voting and Nonetheless Marching for Ladies’s Rights.”  Elisabeth and Edna Kearns have been the shoulders on this case they usually each traveled about in horse drawn wagons to attract consideration to the reason for Ladies’s Suffrage.  Right here’s what I offered for example the technique of utilizing wagon in suffrage outreach.

EF, Vera Wentworth, Elsie McKenzie, all British educated militants, and Ida “Colonel” Craft NY to Boston.

For some fast background, Freeman labored in England with the Pankhursts and their radical suffrage group, and in 1911 returned to the US. The suffrage motion within the US was mainly dying of boredom and wanted what we might name a “re-branding.” EF and a number of other different British educated “suffragettes” have been prepared.  Nonetheless it have to be famous that in England it was the federal government leaders that have been in opposition to suffrage for girls, not the individuals. Within the US, the final inhabitants of voters have been simply not educated about suffrage. As Elisabeth acknowledged clearly, “The newspapers search for information and such ways produce information.”

One of many first treks for EF was touring round Lengthy Island the place Rosalie Jones, heiress and devoted suffragist, lived. EF was good on the stump speech and Rosalie articulated the technique: “The aim of the marketing campaign is to evoke ladies of small cities to their accountability for suffrage.” She continued, “We will by no means win if everyone depends upon New York Metropolis for its audio system.” (“As soon as Walked for Trigger, Now She’ll Educate It” Tribune, Nov 19, 1914)They obtained a number of press protection in small native papers in addition to regional papers.

“Do you imagine in our trigger?” “Don’t know. Haven’t made up my thoughts but.”

Their subsequent gig was in Ohio the place there was a poll initiative opposed by liquor pursuits. They traveled to rural areas and talked to people and entered small cities within the afternoon and, by the night, had a talking engagement or rally. EF spoke at a state honest about suffrage; she spoke throughout intermission on the films in addition to on road corners. Most males stated, as on this cartoon, “I dunno. Haven’t made up my thoughts.” However, the farmer gave them apples!

And on the town after city the native paper gave them protection for the novelty of it as a lot because the politics. Ceaselessly, the horse, on this clipping named “Asquith” after the recalcitrant British Prime

Minister, was the primary story.

The Ohio marketing campaign, which they misplaced, led as much as essentially the most well-known of hikes or “Pilgrim Marches” from NY to Washington DC in time for the Suffrage Parade designed to upstage Woodrow Wilson’s Inaugural. EF drove the literature wagon and gave speeches at every cease. They walked from NY to DC in February by means of snow, ice, and dirt however obtained tons of publicity and even had embedded reporters. Full web page spreads weren’t uncommon and the NY papers adopted their progress every day.

The press recorded their disappointment at their arrival the place March organizers “forgot” to fulfill them. Nonetheless, crowds cheered them on (and others obtained fairly hostile), leading to extra protection.

Most often, the wagon itself was a moveable billboard. In Springfield MA, city ordinances prohibited such promoting and the wagon needed to veil its messaging. They stated, “…and although our wagon was veiled, I assume Hartford  will bear in mind the suffs. We bought a lot of Lady’s Journals.” (8-19-1913). The NY to Boston journey in Summer season of 1913 included a hurdy gurdy music machine to attract a crowd. Additionally they had a stunt of sending provider pigeons which the press beloved.

This wagon was in all probability embellished for a parade. See the flowers on the horses’ head.
Sullivan Co. marketing campaign, labelled “Monticello”

In Sullivan Co, in 1914, they used oxen to attract their wagon. Mrs. Muller a neighborhood organizer stated, “It’s excessive time that the agricultural districts have been woke up to the motion. Some them have by no means even heard of suffrage.” (Campaigning with an Ox Staff, The Eagle July 20, 1914). Right here is one other Sullivan Co photograph of a wagon which could have been a part of a float gaily embellished to draw consideration.

EF, and her fellow suffragettes, set out to connect with individuals and to be newsworthy, or as Elisabeth put it, “My objective is to be the subject of dialog on the dinner desk.” Rosalie Jones noticed, ” (The hike) has woke up many a lady and man…to appreciate that suffrage just isn’t one thing you examine, however one thing that goes strolling previous your individual door.” (The Sunday Night Occasions, Feb 16, 2013) It took braveness to step outdoors the bounds of what was anticipated of girls and to make a spectacle of themselves. However they knew that might make an impression and would develop what ladies might do, and would undoubtedly, get good press.

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