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Rampant Women: Suffragists and the Right of Assembly Linda J. Lumsden

Rampant Women: Suffragists and the Right of Assembly

Linda J. Lumsden

Published October 1st 1997
ISBN : 9780870499869
Hardcover
273 pages
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 About the Book 

In Rampant Women, Linda J. Lumsden offers an in-depth look at the intersection between the woman suffrage movement and the constitutional right to assemble peaceably. Beginning in 1908, women activists took to the streets in a variety of publicMoreIn Rampant Women, Linda J. Lumsden offers an in-depth look at the intersection between the woman suffrage movement and the constitutional right to assemble peaceably. Beginning in 1908, women activists took to the streets in a variety of public gatherings and protests in a bold attempt to win the right to vote. Lumsden shows how outdoor pageants, conventions, petition drives, soapbox speaking at open-air meetings, the use of symbolic expression, and picketing - all manifestations of the right of assembly - played an instrumental role in the woman suffrage movement. Without these innovative forms of protest, Lumsden argues, women might not be voting today in the United States. Tracing the strengths and weaknesses of American womens struggle for freedom of expression prior to the twentieth century, Lumsden shows how the suffragists new tactics forged solidarity among women and legitimized the movement. When they spoke, marched, and picketed, suffragists not only challenged legal restrictions regarding public assemblies, they defied traditional ideas about how women should behave. Lumsden also examines the legal and social origins of the right to assembly and contends that womens exercise of their First Amendment rights helped prod the legal establishment to ensure protection for gatherings by other political dissidents as well. The right of assembly provided the foundation for every step of the fifty-year struggle for woman suffrage. As Lumsden demonstrates, these assemblies helped change the nations concept of democracy and helped women move from the private, domestic sphere into the public, political sphere. An exciting exploration of a turning point in American history, Rampant Women is a unique chronicle of how freedom of expression effected peaceful social change.