26 Pages

The Suffrage Dilemma, 1880-1896

In the decade of the 188Os, as the decisive attack upon polygamy developed, the country confronted industrial change and labor unrest. Increasing dass conflict and a rising conservatism were hallmarks of the period, signalling the end of Reconstruction reform. The activism of antipolygamy women was part of a burgeoning domestic politics, especially evident in the expansion of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) under the leadersbip of Frances Willard (1839-1898). Susan B. Anthony, steering an aging ftrst generation of suffragists in the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) through these changes, sought to attract the women energized by the temperance movement. Anthony reorganized the suffrage organization, moved to the right to attract the newer activist women. Lastly, the venerable suffragist maneuvered the merger of the NWSA and its riyal suffrage organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association (A WSA) , by the end of the period. The Mormon-suffrage alliance struggled through the changes of the decade, buffetted by events and antipolygamy fervor, surviving in a strengthened bond by the end of the era.