Nawsa Presidency, Part I (1904–1908)
This chapter examines the early years of Anna Howard Shaw's National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) presidency. With little scholarship on Shaw's leadership, most historians follow the position originated by Eleanor Flexner that Shaw's tenure was chaotic and that Shaw an ineffective administrator. The only major challenge to this view comes from the late Sarah Hunter Graham and her argument that these were the years of a suffrage renaissance. The tensions and conflicts under Shaw's leadership were essential for the change that revitalized the NAWSA. Key challenges involved economic and racial issues, the focus on the federal amendment, and what the move to New York and the professionalization of the staff meant. Feminist suffrage scholarship generally has concluded that a conservative and racist NAWSA and Shaw were finally challenged by younger, more radical leaders. However, a close examination of Shaw's presidency finds that the dynamics within the NAWSA and the suffrage struggle to be far more complex.
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