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Front Pages, Front LinesMedia and the Fight for Women's Suffrage$
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Linda Steiner, Carolyn Kitch, and Brooke Kroeger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043109

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043109.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

A Countermovement on the Verge of Defeat

A Countermovement on the Verge of Defeat

Antisuffragist Arguments in 1917 Press Coverage

(p.134) 7 A Countermovement on the Verge of Defeat
Front Pages, Front Lines

Teri Finneman

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how the mainstream local and regional press covered the antisuffrage perspective in the critical year of 1917 as it became increasingly evident that the suffrage movement had momentum to secure a federal amendment. The goal here is to increase understanding of press portrayals of a countermovement and thus to add to literature on social movement theory. Its findings reveal that most coverage situated the suffrage debate in the context of World War I. Antisuffragists relied on negative discourse that criticized the patriotism of the suffragists and argued that women did not want the added burden of voting. In contrast, suffragists avoided emotional reactions and instead based their arguments on facts and on the benefits of women being in the public sphere. This study contributes to prior research on countermovements and the implications of taking a negative and narrow approach when attempting to undermine a social movement

Keywords:   Antisuffragists, Countermovements, social movements, World War I, 1917 

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