In the Press: Women's History

Front page of the Woman's Journal and Suffrage News, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Front page of the Woman's Journal and Suffrage News.
Published March, 1913.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Part of "American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources" collection. Public domain.

Before Instagram, Snapchat, or Reddit there was the newspaper! In the early 1900s, newspapers were the main form of media. Articles published in newspapers reflected national and local opinions. Reporting also had the power to influence policy-making.

During the women’s suffrage movement, papers all across the country were printing articles and cartoons for and against women’s suffrage rights. By examining these articles and cartoons, we can better understand different opinions about the movement.


Examine the cartoon below.

What types of people does the cartoon show? Are these people depicted in a flattering way or not? How do you know?

What symbols, values, or traits is the cartoonist emphasizing? What point is the cartoon trying to make?

Do you think this cartoon was drawn by someone who as for or against women’s suffrage? Why?

What influence do you think cartoons have in the present day?

"Looking Backward." This anti-suffrage artwork shows a woman leaving behind love, marriage, children, and home for suffrage and loneliness. This message -- that women who had the vote would be miserable -- was not uncommon in anti-suffrage messages.
Photo titled "Looking Backward." 
Artwork by Laura E. Foster, c. 1912. Published in Life Magazine, August 22, 1912.

From the collections of the Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/item/2002716765/).

Last updated: July 31, 2018