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Courage in Women is Often Mistaken for Insanity

Updated on August 11, 2013

Taking the right to vote for granted!

In this day and age I wonder how many women out there take their right to vote for granted, and I wonder if many of them know about some of the terrible things that women of the suffrage movement had to endure in order to get their right to vote. I know I have been guilty of not voting sometimes because it was inconvenient or raining, or had to work or whatever other excuse you can think of. And then I watched a movie about the women's movement and what some of these women had to go through in order to allow all women of the United States to have the right to vote. It amazed me that women were made to look "crazy" because they were sticking up for themselves just for the right not to be treated like a second class citizen. It also amazes me that it took until 1920 for the right for women to vote, and that places like Russia got the vote before we did. There are so many countries that have had women presidents many times and still our country has not entrusted this office to a woman yet. I guess because so many men have done such a fine job in office, a woman couldn't possibly do any better. But I say they certainly couldn't do any worse. Nonetheless a woman president would be another hub, this one is a tribute to all those brave women in 1917 and what they stood up for.

Protesting against the President

When Woodrow Wilson took office, many women protested in front of the White House asking for their right to vote. They took up signs demanding they be heard. They even had vigils around the clock taking turns and not backing down, holding up signs for hours at a time. Even though the war was raging, they would not be stopped and although at the time, women were pretty much silent with their political views and not taken seriously whenever they did have an opinion, these women of the suffrage movement were not going to give up until they were heard.

Women such as Lucy Burns and Alice Paul and women who were members of the National Women's Party took umbrage to the attitude from Woodrow Wilson and set out to expose his hypocrisy when he claimed that he was "making the world safe for democracy" and when it wasn't happening at home they picketed with signs that said, " Mr President, how long must women wait for liberty"? They even burned copies of Wilson's speeches in protest.

Many women were arrested for "obstructing traffic" and thrown in jail. Many were beaten, and 33 women were falsely convicted of a crime. Police went at them with clubs and before the night was over many of the women were barely alive, all for "obstructing sidewalk traffic".

Dora Lewis
Dora Lewis

Dora Lewis was thrown into a very dark cell and thrown up against an iron bed that knocked her out cold. Later affidavits mentioned that she had been, dragged, grabbed,beaten, choked,kicked and swung around by her hair. Why? Because she was picketing in front of the White House.

Lucy Burns
Lucy Burns

Night of Terror of 1917

Lucy Burns was beaten by several guards. She was handcuffed with her hands above her head and left there for the whole night as she gasped for breath and almost bled to death.

The Night of Terror began on November 15, 1917 when the guards at the Occoquan prison were given the order by the warden to teach a lesson to all the women that had been imprisoned there for picketing for their right to vote. For many weeks the only water that these women had was contaminated and the slop that was fed to them was infested with maggots.

Alice Paul
Alice Paul

More women of the movement

Pauline Adams served a 60 day sentence for her involvement in the protests.
Pauline Adams served a 60 day sentence for her involvement in the protests.
Edith Ainge protester and part of the National Women's Party
Edith Ainge protester and part of the National Women's Party
Helena Hill Weed served 3 day prison sentence for protesting.
Helena Hill Weed served 3 day prison sentence for protesting.

Alice Paul was the chairman of the Congressional Committee of the National American Women Suffrage Association in 1913. She was very active in the role for the women's movement. She was among the women that were arrested on the Night of Terror and on several other occasions. She embarked on a hunger strike and the prison guards tied her to a chair and forced a tube down her throat and poured tons of water into her stomache until she threw it up.She was tortured in this manner for weeks until word leaked out to the press. She underwent psychological evaluations because the warden wanted her to be declared insane for her actions. Fortunately, her evaluator would not declare her insane and added that it was a shame that women who had the convictions to speak up were often made to look "crazy" in order to silence them. Finally the judge declared that the women had been unjustly imprisoned and were just exercising their right to protest

For all that these women suffered, it would take 3 more years for them to win the vote, but what a triumph it must have been for these women, pioneers and the voices for all women of the United States. As women we should all be grateful for ourselves and for our daughters and their daughters after them and to never forget these women of 1917, for them we shall never forget.


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  • Levertis Steele profile image

    Levertis Steele 

    6 years ago from Southern Clime

    Wonderful hub and tribute to women who stood up for the rights of woman, including those who stood up for the rights of all women regardless of race. For all, I am thankful. It tears my heart to think that strong men ravaged these women because they asked for simple rights. I am in a special patriotic mood. With that in mind, I think it is good that we can look back at this with a forgiving heart as a bump in the road of history that was eventually leveled.

  • Connie Smith profile image

    Connie Smith 

    6 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

    Makes me ashamed of the few times I didn't go out to vote. I hope that all the women who read this do go vote, but also that they know exactly what they are doing by READING and forming their very own opinion. Today, I see so many people, both men and women, who, frankly, do not understand the issues, but think they do. Do not rely on anyone else, including the media, to make your decisions. Read various sources to research candidates and issues yourself. Be a responsible voter.

  • Baissier De profile image

    Baissier De 

    7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Everyone has that "one thing" that they have an issue with. Very few rise up and take a stand for what is right.

    Every generation in this country has reached a boiling point to where the oppressed says "Enough!" It is when they reach this point in time that they demand the respect/rights that should have been available in the first place.

    I think this is a well written and properly constructed article outlining the progress that women have made in this nation. I do not like the title. I do not like it because I feel that it takes away from the power that the women of the past have given to the women of the present; and who will in turn, give to the daughters of the future. But I do love the article.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Texas

    Lindatymensky thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed this hub. Cheers.

  • lindatymensky profile image


    7 years ago

    Very nice piece. Thank you. Linda

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    ahorseback thanks for reading and for having such a high opinion of women, I wish everyone felt the same way as you. I agree that these women should be sainted. Cheers.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Ladyjane , I wouldn't even be going out on a limb by saying this, But it is women who are holding this culture in America together, Men have "dropped the ball" , in my oppinion , in this country since about the nineteen fifties. Its easier to just walk away from families and marriages now , and so many times I see the woman, and moms , as being the backbone of the family today. These women were amazingly ahead of their times and deserve to be sainted . Talk about the greatest generation! Excellent hub......

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    goldie77 thanks for reading and for your support. Cheers.

  • goldie77 profile image


    8 years ago from Scotland

    so true -we should be grateful to all brave women who have gone before us

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Midtown Girl thanks for reading and I agree with you we should never forget past generations that sacrificed so much. Cheers.

  • Midtown Girl profile image

    Midtown Girl 

    8 years ago from Right where I want to be!

    Nicely written history lesson. May we all remember those from past generations who paved the way for the next.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    tazersrose thanks for reading and I was appauled as well when I first learned of this. If you read more on Alice Paul you will be amazed of what she went through. There is also a movie about this with Hillary Swank, very overwhelming but good to know what people are willing to endure for a good cause. Thanks again. Cheers.

  • tanzersrose profile image


    8 years ago

    I didn't know that these women were treated as badly as this it gave me goosebumps to read. Thankyou for educating me.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Micky thanks for the compliment and isn't it amazing what these women went through? It amazed me as well and hopefully it gets better for us. God bless you as well and cheers.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    8 years ago

    This is, indeed, an incredible piece of work. I never knew about these things happening to women. But there have been many bullies in our midst. We'll have to endure some more too. God bless you Lady Jane. This is absolutely wonderful.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    thank you laura in denver. Visit anytime. Cheers.

  • Laura in Denver profile image

    Laura Deibel 

    8 years ago from Aurora

    Very nice article and timely.

    I used to also be inclined to "blow off" elections, mainly figuring that my vote would not make much of a difference.

    This slacking attitude of mine has changed since CO (elected) legislators passed this hideous "Amazon Tax" i.e. "Nexus Law" which directly affected my earnings as affiliate advertiser! (Story at FYI Colorado voters!)

    You better believe I am watching this election to make sure who voted for this hideous law get ousted!

    Elected officials do hit the bottom line, so people must stay informed and vote!

    Thanks again!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    thanks kowality I appreciate you reading. I agree with you I think that our younger generations should know about this. Cheers

  • kowality profile image


    8 years ago from Everywhere

    Hi Ladyjane, I am a fan of history and studied it in college, but there is so much in here I never knew! I am glad you wrote this! I wish it were required reading for all students! Thumbs up!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Deni you are welcome and thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed my hub. Cheers

  • Deni Edwards profile image

    Jenifer L 

    8 years ago from california

    Thanks for this great hub!

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    H.C Porter thanks for reading my hub. I agree with you we all should be grateful to these brave women and consider ourselves lucky that they did the hard part for us and never take it for granted. Cheers.

    Katiem thanks for reading and I agree we do have so much to be grateful for. Thanks for visiting. cheers.

  • katiem2 profile image


    8 years ago from I'm outta here

    Oh what a beautiful tribute to the struggle of so many brave women. We have so much to be grateful for, thanks for pointing this out and remembering as we too have much to do in way of maintaining our voice, freedoms and continued rights! Peace :)

  • H.C Porter profile image


    8 years ago from Lone Star State

    This is a wonderful article about women’s rights and how they came about. Perhaps change takes a few crazy women to make it happen. I am so glad that women with minds and women who wanted more and saw a better future for us all, existed and had enough bravery within their souls to be crazy enough to fight for change, respect and what is right. Thanks for sharing.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    lisa thanks for your thoughtful comments and I agree there is still much work to be done as far as women goe in this country and that is why it is important for the younger generation of women to carry on the torch and to maybe get the rights that we deserve as tax paying citizens. Cheers and thanks.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    GPAGE thanks so much for the nice comment and sorry it took me so long to answer. I appreciate you reading my hub and appreciate the fact that you understand what a very important time this was in our history. I hope the younger generation of women will appreciate what our brave women of 1917 did for us. Cheers.

  • Lisa HW profile image

    Lisa HW 

    8 years ago from Massachusetts

    ladyjane, this is an important Hub, and I'm glad to see it on HubPages. I grew up knowing (and kind of being amazed about) the fact that women didn't get the right to vote until my mother, born in 1919, was a year old. The title of your Hub actually gave me a chill up my arms; and even though I truly don't want to seem like I'm trying to make your important Hub "about me", here's why (and I think there's a message that relates to your Hub):

    When I left my marriage in 1991 (that's not 1891 - it's 1991, as in 19 years ago), I found myself being dragged off to a mental health facility because nobody could understand why I would do such a thing!! We may have (to borrow the line from the old Virginia Slims TV commercial) "come a long way, Baby" - but we still have a very long way to go (and the trouble is that, with so many changes in laws that give the appearance of progress, there remain so many ways women continue to be oppressed (in the good, old, USA) that nobody even knows about or sees.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Hey WB thanks for reading and I couldn't agree with you more. Cheers cowboy.

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    8 years ago from Texas

    There is a great lesson here for younger generations...if you have a good cause, then persistence, perserverance, and courage will be required to see it through but in the end, you will likely come out a winner. The women of America have something to cherish here in that they have gotten their right to vote the old-fashion way...they earned it! Good article LJ! WB

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Denise thanks for reading and commenting. I enjoyed writing this hub and bringing to light what we already knew in history but sometimes we have to be re-reminded, especially the very young. Cheers.

    @Mike thanks so much for reading this hub, and you are right the battle for freedome at home has not yet ended and it may never be. Unfortunately we pay the price for freedom through blood of our American men and women in the military. Cheers to you.

  • Mike Lickteig profile image

    Mike Lickteig 

    8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

    A very fine and important article. The sacrifices these courageous women made for their rights must never be forgotten. I had thought the latest election might place a woman in the office of the presidency, but it was not yet to be. It will certainly happen, and the fight to maintain our rights must never be forgotten or abandoned. The battle for freedom at home has not yet ended.

    Thanks for this most inspiring article.


  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    8 years ago from North Carolina

    Wow! What an awesome hub, Ladyjane-I voted it up. You bring out some great points here, about women, especially young women today, taking the vote for granted. I was contemplating this not too long ago. It is amazing how recent we have earned the right to vote, and sadly, not everyone exercises this right. Great title: the 'insanity' caught my eye.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    @geegee LOL

    @mysterylady thank you for you kind comments. Im glad you found my hub informative. Cheers.

  • mysterylady 89 profile image

    mysterylady 89 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Ladyjane, I commend you for a very powerful hub! Not only was it well written, but it gave historical information that is often forgotten or neglected.

  • geegee77 profile image


    8 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

    that's funny hystera is a "greek" word lol

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Green Lotus thanks for you very nice comments. I appreciate that you enjoyed this hub and that it was helpful in giving you information about history. Cheers.

  • Green Lotus profile image


    8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    The brave women of this period have never received the historical recognition they deserve. Thank you for this beautiful, shocking and important Hub Lady Jane and for make a few more names and photos better known to all. Well done. Your title also reminds me of the origin of the word "hysterical" which comes from the Greek, "hystera" or "womb".

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    thanks geegee77 for having my back as all my sisters do. I agree with you that these men were cowards but that is the way they act when threatened by strong women. Cheers and thanks.

  • geegee77 profile image


    8 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

    I agree with saddlerider those were COWARDS who put these women through all of this. I am proud to be a woman. You did a great job with this hub, and I dont think it was faaaaar to short, like one of your commentors said not mentioning any names but their initials are DG lol.

  • saddlerider1 profile image


    8 years ago

    LadyJane I am overwhelmed by the support from fellow hubbers and so there should be. These acts brought on by a SIMPLE wanting to vote against women in that period was a disgraceful, disgusting, barbaric act of COWARDS who were worst than evil.

    I couldn't agree more with 50 Caliber. He hit the nail on the head time and time again with his poignant comments and support. One only has to look back in history to read about some of the most brilliant, strong and brave women that graced our planet.

    From great Queens, orators, writers, mothers, slaves, peasants, woman of faith. The list goes on and on. I am so happy to have read this hub that you presented here for all of us to stand up and take notice of the wonder of a caring, giving and devoted woman to her country and it's ideals.

    I salute woman in the present and from the past, long may they live and for those who have passed may they RIP knowing what accomplishments they left us all. A wonderful legacy. Cheers. I rate this HUB UP, way UP.

  • GPAGE profile image


    8 years ago from California

    ladyjane..this is an excellent article. I have often thought of this before. But it is interesting to see so many facts and faces of these women. Thank you so much for bringing this to the attention of many. Very well written too!!

    Best, G

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Nellieanna once again it is a pleasure for you to read my hub and give such a nice comment. I am not surprised that you come from a lineage of strong women. Thanks for sharing your views and I agree with you about the respect going both ways. Yes everyone should have respect for humankind. Cheers.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    8 years ago from TEXAS

    I'm not only awed by and appreciative of your wonderful article about this momentous era in our history and the women who forged a just cause, but also by the commentators who have written here in support of it. There are some really powerful comments!

    My little mother, born in 1892, was not one of the active suffragettes as presented here - but I've read her diary of 1912 in which she was trying to awaken her schoolmates to the injustice of a system which rigorously and routinely put down women and gave them crumbs from the table of men who ran things. She and Dad married in 1917 and set off on a cooperative venture which most women of the time would not have attempted. They continued in such ventures together, in fact.

    My father was a strong man, king of his castle - but he supported her rights too, and did so from the time they met in 1910 when he was her teacher (only two years older - lol). She mentioned "that boy, Albert" in her diary as being her morale supporter.

    So there were some chivalrous men of real courage and stature then, too - otherwise, surely nothing could have been accomplished which was accomplished by the movement. But nothing would have even been tried were it not for the brave and very intelligent women who braved the slings and arrows and persisted. My gratitude goes to them, for sure! I've never really liked the smartalecky attitude of many in the 'feminist' movement because I believe in the dignity & rights of human beings - not just one or the other gender. But individually, people must earn the respect and access to that dignity and those rights by their lives and their actions, not by waving banners or reciting slogans alone. And for either gender to merit them, the honest differences in them as individuals - including gender - must be mutually respected. It doesn't work just one-way.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    rose56 thanks for sticking up for me sis, I guess chivalry is dead....Cheers.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Pamela99 thanks for reading my hub and thanks for your kind comment. I love history as well and just love to soak in so many different stories especially when it comes to human rights. Cheers.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Lady Jane, This is a wonderful tribute to those brave women that won the right to vote for all of us. I am very interested in history and belong to the DAR and some other genealogy societies. One of the nice perks is we have wonderful speakers that tell of these stories. I enjoyed your hub.

  • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


    8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

    Thank you for sharing with all of us this interesting part of human history.

  • rose56 profile image


    8 years ago

    what a wonderful hub.I loved reading your hub.Strong women I love it. And how dare your Mr De Greek I cant believe you would call Miss ladyjane Lazyjane.WOW She has always been good to you. I have never heard her say anything bad about you. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought you had more class than that.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    MFB thanks so much for your nice comment and its good to see you again. You maybe right about every woe of men will wind up with woman, just as we associate all the negative of womanhood with men such as MENopause, Cheers.

  • MFB III profile image

    MFB III 

    8 years ago from United States

    I sometimes think that there are males out there who think that if you combine every woe of men, you wind up with woman. Even today we have men who think a women place is in the home, yet when one looks atal of the courageous things women have accomplished one knows that they hold many more palce in this world. Great write~~~~~~~MFB III

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    Faybe I agree with you about the school ciriculum and as far as the ERA you are right and people have tried many times to ratify it and every lame excuse has been made to not pass it. Maybe we will see it in our lifetime maybe not but at least these women still opened up the door for the vote, for sexual discrimination and for breaking the glass ceiling. Thanks for your great comment, cheers.

    @breakfastpop thanks for visiting I appreciate your kind words.

    @De Greek I cannot believe my eyes here, Lazyjane??? No I think that I made my point that I was trying to make and I take into consideration that some hubbers have a very short attention span such as myself and usually pass on the hub that is more than 1200 words long. I try to spare the reader from falling asleep and want to leave them wanting more such as yourself. Please come visit but don't insult me...from this blow I shall never recover. LOL Cheers.

  • De Greek profile image

    De Greek 

    8 years ago from UK

    Oh, come ON, now! Is that it? It's such an interesting subject and you made it read so alive and real, but faaaaaaaaaar too short, you LazyJane!

    Truly, if you write a series of stories about this, you will have one grateful reader.

    Those women must have been so brave and the exposing of the Nazi-like brutes who mistreated them so necessary for the sake of preventing injustice of all kind.

    So come ON LazyJane, make the effort :-))))

  • breakfastpop profile image


    8 years ago

    This is an excellent tribute to the brave and courageous women who gave so much of themselves to future generations of women.

  • ladyjane1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Texas

    AdziJ thanks again for reading I appreciate your kind comments. Cheers.

    @Caliber hello hope you are well. Thanks for giving such a great response on my hub. I wouldn't consider you a male chauvinist pig, those words are way too harsh for someone who feels as you do about women. Yes you are right, women do not have the brawn that men do and because of this they have suffered but thank God for those brave women who did suffer so that all could have rights in the U.S.A. Cheers.

  • Faybe Bay profile image

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thank you Ladyjane! This is an amazing tribute to the tenacity of human spirit, and to the spirit of women against the worst of odds. I cannot imagine what these women would think of the present generation not receiving this education as part of the school curriculum. One of the worst parts is that the reason that they went through this is because women, as such, did not have the same rights as men. The Equal Rights Amendment has still, after all these years, not been ratified into law. Looks like the work isn't over.

  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    8 years ago from Arizona

    Lady Jane, I'm a "male chauvinist pig" by definition of the bra burners of later years, so I'll try and be respectful here.

    You have presented a fine article here and I'll not degrade it by calling it a hub. It is a true history lesson that I feel all should know, hear of and learn. It was a disgusting act perpetrated by weak men and carried out by despicable scum that cannot be described as men, none who took part in torture of anyone who was first cuffed up with deeds not even allowed by the Geneva Convention of the rules of war against trained killers was carried out against women. I don't mean to be disrespectful by saying that they were weak, but physically challenged they were at a definite disadvantage of physical strength. Yet their will to win was that of a "Warrior" and by the grace given by God that was enough to further their rights. I hold much respect for them and their actions. Chivalry not dead under this roof, I would have helped them if I were present in those days.

    People need take note of your message as in it lies the fact that the American government is posturing to do this again, not only against women but their children and husbands as well, it will begin in the gulf states soon, and I pray there exists many women with these strengths still as every able bodied person will be needed in the on coming cloud of forced evacuation and crippling actions against the people there.

    I salute your tribute to women who stood and worked like "Rosy the Riveter" of the WWII era. Women have stood and toughed it out in our history many times.

    God Bless you and all women for their great sacrifices and survival abilities we will need them soon enough again. You are right about a presidential seat, I feel a Woman is the answer for 2012 to bring this country 180 degrees back around to good morals we seem to have lost to a bunch of crappy rich white men over the years. I believe that Sarah Palin took a serious beat down by the media but she stood strong and is still fighting for her slot in the white house I believe she deserved and if not her, I hope another rises from the midst of this nation to fix all that is broken.

    I tapped all your buttons up on this topic, it made me think and recognize the part these strong women that have demonstrated great achievements all the way to the current combat trained women involved in these current two wars. In Vietnam they were present and though not gun slingers they had input that was so valuable to many that were "hit". I remember them in the MASH units the jobs they performed were awesome to say the least, 50

  • AdziJ profile image


    8 years ago from UK

    What a moving article ladyjane1,

    ...some women...somewhere...smetime....



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ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)