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Alice Paul in Women's Movements

Alice Paul (1885-1977) was instrumental in securing women's right to vote under the Nineteenth Amendment and drafted the Equal Rights Amendment. Born in New Jersey, Paul's social philosophy was shaped by her Hicksite Quaker upbringing. She graduated from Swarthmore with a degree in biology in 1905. Over the course of her life, she also earned a master's degree in sociology, a Ph.D. in economics, and three law degrees.

While studying in England in 1908, Paul was introduced to the militant tactics of British suffragettes Emmeline and Christable Pankhurst. When Paul returned to the United States in 1910, her more militant approach led her to break with the National American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, and to found the National Woman's Party in 1916. The NWP picketed the White House for over a year, pressuring President Woodrow Wilson to back women's suffrage.

After the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Paul remained active in the women's rights movement. She drafted the Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in Congress in 1923, helped found the World Women's Party, which lobbied successfully for the creation of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and was instrumental in securing a gender discrimination provision in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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