How Women Used the US West to Win the Right to Vote
Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Decades before white women won the right to vote throughout the United States, they first secured that right in its Western region—beginning in Wyoming in 1869. Many scholars have studied why and how the Western states enfranchised women before the Eastern ones; this book instead examines the influence of the West on the national US suffrage movement. As the campaign for woman suffrage intensified, US suffragists often invoked the West in their verbal, visual, and embodied advocacy. In deploying this region as a persuasive resource, they challenged the traditional meanings of the West and East, thus gaining additional persuasive strategies. Tiffany Lewis’s analysis of the public discourse, images, and performances of suffragists and their opponents shows that the West played a pivotal role in the successful campaign for white women’s enfranchisement that culminated in 1920. In addition to offering a history of this political movement’s rhetorical strategy, Lewis illustrates the usefulness of region in protest—the way social movements can tactically employ region to motivate social change.
“In this rich and vivid analysis, Uprising animates how activists invoked ‘the West’ to argue for and against a woman’s right to vote. Tiffany Lewis’s writing is clear and elegant as she illuminates strategies that invoked and transformed meanings of the US West, including parades, flags, and a crosscountry road trip. This is a must-read for scholars of rhetoric, women’s rights, history, protest, and regionalism.” —BELINDA A. STILLION SOUTHARD, University of Georgia, and author of How to Belong: Women’s Agency in a Transnational World