Suffragettes cover Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

You know how much I love this.

But. Notice how different class positions are represented in the video. Yet how everyone is white?

After a quick google I found a “Votes for Women Timeline” on the government American memory site. It shows part of the racialised context and conflicts in the fight for universal suffrage in the United States in the 19th to early 20th century.

1848
The first women’s rights convention in the United States is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Many participants sign a “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” that outlines the main issues and goals for the emerging women’s movement. Thereafter, women’s rights meetings are held on a regular basis.
1849
Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. Over the next ten years she leads many slaves to freedom by the Underground Railroad.
1850
Amelia Jenks Bloomer launches the dress reform movement with a costume bearing her name. The Bloomer costume was later abandoned by many suffragists who feared it detracted attention from more serious women’s rights issues.
1851
Former slave Sojourner Truth delivers her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech before a spellbound audience at a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio.
1852
Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which rapidly becomes a bestseller.
1859
The successful vulcanization of rubber provides women with reliable condoms for the first time. The birth rate in the United States continues its downward, century-long spiral. By the late 1900s, women will raise an average of only two to three children, in contrast to the five or six children they raised at the beginning of the century.
1861 to 65
The American Civil War disrupts suffrage activity as women, North and South, divert their energies to “war work.” The War itself, however, serves as a “training ground,” as women gain important organizational and occupational skills they will later use in postbellum organizational activity.
1865 to 1880
Southern white women create Confederate memorial societies to help preserve the memory of the “Lost Cause.” This activity propels many white Southern women into the public sphere for the first time. During this same period, newly emancipated Southern black women form thousands of organizations aimed at “uplifting the race.”
1866
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, an organization for white and black women and men dedicated to the goal of universal suffrage.
1868
The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, which extends to all citizens the protections of the Constitution against unjust state laws. This Amendment was the first to define “citizens” and “voters” as “male.”
1869
The women’s rights movement splits into two factions as a result of disagreements over the Fourteenth and soon-to-be-passed Fifteenth Amendments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the more radical, New York-based National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Julia Ward Howe organize the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which is centered in Boston. In this same year, the Wyoming territory is organized with a woman suffrage provision. In 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union with its suffrage provision intact.
1870
The Fifteenth Amendment enfranchises black men. NWSA refuses to work for its ratification, arguing, instead, that it be “scrapped” in favor of a Sixteenth Amendment providing universal suffrage. Frederick Douglass breaks with Stanton and Anthony over NWSA’s position.
1870 to 1875
Several women–including Virginia Louisa Minor, Victoria Woodhull, and Myra Bradwell–attempt to use the Fourteenth Amendment in the courts to secure the vote (Minor and Woodhull) or the right to practice law (Bradwell). They all are unsuccessful.
1872
Susan B. Anthony is arrested and brought to trial in Rochester, New York, for attempting to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election. At the same time, Sojourner Truth appears at a polling booth in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding a ballot; she is turned away.
1874
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is founded by Annie Wittenmyer. With Frances Willard at its head (1876), the WCTU became an important force in the fight for woman suffrage. Not surprisingly, one of the most vehement opponents to women’s enfranchisement was the liquor lobby, which feared women might use the franchise to prohibit the sale of liquor.
1878
A Woman Suffrage Amendment is introduced in the United States Congress. The wording is unchanged in 1919, when the amendment finally passes both houses.
1890
The NWSA and the AWSA are reunited as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During this same year, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr found Hull House, a settlement house project in Chicago’s 19th Ward. Within one year, there are more than a hundred settlement houses–largely operated by women–throughout the United States. The settlement house movement and the Progressive campaign of which it was a part propelled thousands of college-educated white women and a number of women of color into lifetime careers in social work. It also made women an important voice to be reckoned with in American politics.
1891
Ida B. Wells launches her nation-wide anti-lynching campaign after the murder of three black businessmen in Memphis, Tennessee.
1893
Hannah Greenbaum Solomon founds the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) after a meeting of the Jewish Women’s Congress at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. In that same year, Colorado becomes the first state to adopt a state amendment enfranchising women.
1895
Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman’s Bible. After its publication, NAWSA moves to distance itself from this venerable suffrage pioneer because many conservative suffragists considered her to be too radical and, thus, potentially damaging to the suffrage campaign. From this time, Stanton–who had resigned as NAWSA president in 1892–was no longer invited to sit on the stage at NAWSA conventions.
1896
Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Margaret Murray Washington, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and former slave Harriet Tubman meet in Washington, D.C. to form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW).
1903
Mary Dreier, Rheta Childe Dorr, Leonora O’Reilly, and others form the Women’s Trade Union League of New York, an organization of middle- and working-class women dedicated to unionization for working women and to woman suffrage. This group later became a nucleus of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).
1911
The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) is organized. Led by Mrs. Arthur Dodge, its members included wealthy, influential women and some Catholic clergymen–including Cardinal Gibbons who, in 1916, sent an address to NAOWS’s convention in Washington, D.C. In addition to the distillers and brewers, who worked largely behind the scenes, the “antis” also drew support from urban political machines, Southern congressmen, and corporate capitalists–like railroad magnates and meatpackers–who supported the “antis” by contributing to their “war chests.”
1912
Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive (Bull Moose/Republican) Party becomes the first national political party to adopt a woman suffrage plank.
1913
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Union, later known as the National Women’s Party (1916). Borrowing the tactics of the radical, militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in England, members of the Woman’s Party participate in hunger strikes, picket the White House, and engage in other forms of civil disobedience to publicize the suffrage cause.
1914
The National Federation of Women’s Clubs–which by this time included more than two million white women and women of color throughout the United States–formally endorses the suffrage campaign.
1916
NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt unveils her “winning plan” for suffrage victory at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Catt’s plan required the coordination of activities by a vast cadre of suffrage workers in both state and local associations.
1916
Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first American woman elected to represent her state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1918 to 1920
The Great War (World War I) intervenes to slow down the suffrage campaign as some–but not all–suffragists decide to shelve their suffrage activism in favor of “war work.” In the long run, however, this decision proves to be a prudent one as it adds yet another reason to why women deserve the vote.
August 26, 1920
The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. Its victory accomplished, NAWSA ceases to exist, but its organization becomes the nucleus of the League of Women Voters.
1923
The National Woman’s Party first proposes the Equal Rights Amendment to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. It has never been ratified.
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3 Responses to Suffragettes cover Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

  1. and more commentary by Mixosaurus on a Horrible HIstories video on the suffrage movement (be warned, the video is pretty terrible!) http://mixosaurus.co.uk/2012/04/the-suffragettes-song-horrible-histories

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