The woman suffrage campaign in Blue Thread plays out against the broader backdrop of the presidential campaign nationally. Unlike the 2012 campaign between two major candidatesBarack Obama and Mitt Romneythe 1912 had three major candidates. Democrat Woodrow Wilson (then governor of New Jersey) and Progressive Theodore Roosevelt (TR) challenged Republican president William Howard Taft. Some activists in the woman suffrage campaign made their views heard. Maud Malone (shown here standing) was definitely one of them.
Here’s what Jo Freeman of the University of Illinois at Chicago has to say about Maud Malone, who livened up the campaign in New York City.
While NAWSA [National American Woman Suffrage Association] officers stayed out of the partisan fray, not all suffragists stayed away from the candidates. Maud Malone made it a point to go to every speech given by a presidential candidate in New York City and yell out “What about woman suffrage?” from the audience. Malone heckled TR in March and Wilson in October. The male audience was hostile, demanding that she be thrown out, while the candidate insisted that she be allowed to stay. Malone persisted with her questions until physically carried from the scene. After heckling Wilson at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, she spent the night in jail. The men she heckled did not ignore her question, but neither did they answer it. Roosevelt said he was in favor of woman suffrage if the women voted to have it his standard position before the Progressive Party convention. Wilson insisted that suffrage was a state, not a national, matter and that he was only here as a representative of the national party. Taft escaped being heckled by not speaking in New York, so he didnt need a reply.
In an article published a hundred years ago this week, the New York Times reported that a three-judge panel in Brooklyn found Malone guilty of disturbing a public meeting when she heckled Governor Wilson. The crime was not standing and asking her question about woman suffrage, but about refusing to sit down afterward. Malone wanted the justices to impose a $3 fine, which would have allowed her to appeal her case to a higher court and get more publicity for the suffrage cause. The judges refused.
The article notes that: “Miss Malone came into the court on the arm of her brother, Sylvester L. Malone. Among her jewels were two “Votes for Women” badges in brown celluloid and a dainty miniature of Elizabeth Cady Stanton on enameled tin.”
For more information on the political role of women in the 1912 campaign, click here. Enjoy.