Secondary Source

Analyzing the Effectiveness of The Remonstrance, an Anti-Suffrage Publication

Elizabeth V. Burt. "The Ideology, Rhetoric, and Organizational Structure of a Countermovement Publication: The Remonstrance, 1890–1920." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 75, Issue 1, March 1998. (pp.69-83).

Era: Post-Suffrage Era | Media: Academic Paper, Newspapers

Elizabeth Burt examines the publication The Remonstrance, a journal published by the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women, a women’s group strongly opposed to the suffrage movement.

This is the abstract for the article:

This article examines the anti-suffrage ideology, rhetoric, and structure of The Remonstrance, the publication of the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women. As a countermovement publication, The Remonstrance was principally reactive, that is, driven to respond to suffrage claims and strategies. Basic themes illustrated the ideology of the anti-suffrage movement. Further, the anti-suffrage ideology was reflected in the organizational structure of both the MAOFESW and The Remonstrance. Although they changed over time, they failed to keep step with the broad social changes affecting women’s lives in the early twentieth century.

Burt concludes by writing that while the publication may have voiced a majority view when it began in 1890, “over the next thirty years they became rhetorically and strategically trapped by their negative and reactive stance.” The Remonstrance, she argues, was unable to create new and persuasive arguments against women’s voting rights, and therefore failed to develop a mass base of support that could defeat the suffrage movement.

This article is only available in academic databases. You can access it by searching for it on EBSCO Discovery Service or by going to this link, where you can buy short term access. The article can also be found at many libraries; find one near you using WorldCat.

You can read a copy of a The Remonstrance issue at the Library of Congress.

For more information on women who opposed suffrage, see this academic article in The History Teacher or this PhD dissertation on anti-suffrage activism in New York.

For more information on how periodicals covered suffrage, see Sheila Webb’s article on The Woman Citizen; Linda Steiner’s chapter “19th Century Suffrage Periodicals: Conceptions of Womanhood and the Press”; the book Women’s Periodicals in the United States: Social and Political Issues Tracy Kulba and Victoria Lamont’s article “The Periodical Press and Western Woman’s Suffrage Movements in Canada and the United States: A Comparative Study“;  the book A Voice of Their Own: The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910; Linda Steiner’s “Finding Community in Nineteenth Century Suffrage Periodicals“; “A New Generation,” in Women of the Washington Press: Politics, Prejudice, and Persistence; and Women and The Press: The Struggle for Equality.

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