On January 12, 1915 Washington DC was abuzz with both suffrage proponents and opponents, all gathered to witness another historic vote on an amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. Unfortunately, as we know now, they were not successful, but time for the anti-suffragists was running out.
The New York Times reported “Suffragists Lose Fight in The House,” when a constitutional amendment resolution granting woman suffrage was debated for ten hours in the House of Representatives, and then rejected by an “overwhelming” vote of 174 to 204, 78 short of the necessary two-thirds vote. But suffrage leaders, while discouraged, were not disheartened. Dr. Anna Shaw, President of the National Suffrage Association said the vote was “better than she had expected,” and that they should just “move onward.” Long Island suffragists were ably represented at the hearing by our own Alva Vanderbilt Belmont who joined Dr. Shaw in the gallery.
Anti-suffrage leader Josephine Jewell Dodge remarked, “Today’s work in the House demonstrated that from now on the wave of hysteria in which the suffragists have indulged…will be on the wane.” Little did she suspect that the opposite would be true, and that in five short years the suffragists would finally claim victory.