Julia Howe was an abolitionist and suffragist who was a co-founder, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. Later that year Howe was part of a group that broke away from the National Woman Suffrage Association to form the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). They were a less “militant” group. I put that in scare quotes, but Wikipedia didn’t. I just don’t really like the word militant applied to people whose militancy amounts to strong speeches and carrying signs. If anyone could be considered a militant in the battle for women’s suffrage, it would be Alice Paul, and all she did was get arrested for picketing the white house and go on a hunger strike. None of these people were advocating violence of any kind. So really, the AWSA took somewhat less controversial positions and wanted to stick strictly to suffrage and not take on other issues. In any case the split lasted about twenty years, but the groups merged again in 1890, thirty years before they finally succeeded in getting the nineteenth amendment and suffrage for women passed. Howe is also known for writing the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

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