Carrie Chapman Catt Papers

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt (1859-1947) dedicated her life to two ideals: women’s rights, and world peace. By 1916, during her second term as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Carrie Lane Chapman Catt had come to accept criticism from the National Woman's Party (NWP) that NAWSA's state-by-state suffrage strategy was taking too long. A brilliant strategist, she unveiled her secret "Winning Plan," a two-pronged attack that called for the careful coordination of state work with an aggressive nonpartisan lobbying effort in Washington for a federal amendment to the constitution. This meant reducing resources in Southern states that were hemorrhaging funds but had no chance of succeeding. By the end of 1916, both NAWSA and the NWP were working toward the federal amendment. Catt and Alice Paul of the NWP, as the respective leaders of the two largest national suffrage organizations, have received most of the credit for securing the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.