This week in history: New Progressive Party first to endorse women’s suffrage

In August 1912, the Progressive Party became the first national party to endorse women’s suffrage. In Chicago, activist Jane Addams attended the party’s convention where Col. Theodore Roosevelt won the nomination.

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SPEC. req. no. 31507 NXP1449083-12/2/75- UNDATED: Jane Addams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prige in 1931, is shown in undated photo.


As reported in the Chicago Daily News, sister publication of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Over 2,000 delegates flocked to Chicago in August 1912 to witness the birth of a new political party — the only one at the time to endorse women’s suffrage.

Reports in the Aug. 5 and 6 editions of the Chicago Daily News described the scene inside the Chicago Coliseum where Col. Theodore Roosevelt accepted the newly minted Progressive Party’s presidential nomination.

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On Aug. 5, the endorsement of women’s suffrage “aroused the audience to its greatest outburst of enthusiasm,” the report said. Yellow silk pennants proclaiming “Votes for Women” waved frantically, and activist Jane Addams, who occupied “a front seat with the Illinois delegation,” said she was most pleased to hear such references to the cause.

The next day, Aug. 6, Roosevelt spoke for two hours and proclaimed his support for a minimum wage for women.

“If a girl is employed in some big shop and is paid insufficient wage and is ‘docked’ for being late or for other reasons, I want the public to know it,” Roosevelt told the crowd.

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