Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Advisor

Sharon H. Strom


Scholarship on women's history in the early twentieth century centers on the triumph of the suffrage movement with the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Few scholars have addressed the role of women in partisan and electoral politics in the 1920s. The decade after suffrage has been dismissed as a time when the progressive reformers were losing ground, women voters failed to constitute a "women's bloc," and the pressures of modern society drew both men and women away from partisan politics. This study aims to uncover the political actions of newly enfranchised women in 1920s Rhode Island. The analysis will focus on women's voting patterns, their participation in the political parties, and most importantly, their involvement in women's organizations. The study undertakes a close examination of the records of women's organizations, and government agencies in which women played a role, as well as a review of local newspaper coverage to determine the level of political involvement of Rhode Island's women in the 1920s. It concludes that contrary to much of the existing literature, Rhode Island's elite, political women had a very large hand in shaping the local political agenda and affecting legislative outcomes in the realm of maternal and child welfare, civic reform, and equal rights legislation.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.