Pioneering Women and Early Government Leaders

Lucy Stone and Alice Paul

Leading Change

Many female leaders emerged in the Women’s Rights Movement, helping promote change. Women such as Lucy Stone (1818-1893) and Alice Paul (1885-1977) faced criticism and persecution while inspiring others in their quest for equal rights.

50-cent Lucy Stone stamp
The Lucy Stone stamp was issued August 13, 1968.

"In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of women. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer."
("Disappointment is the Lot of Women”, October 1855)

When Lucy Stone was young, she disagreed with her father that men should dominate women and became one of the earliest advocates of women’s rights in America. She put herself through school, becoming the first woman in Massachusetts to hold a college degree. She kept her own name after marriage - a practice unheard of at the time. Lucy also maintained property in her own name and refused to pay taxes on it, claiming “taxation without representation.” Lucy helped create the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She also was a staunch abolitionist and worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

78-cent Alice Paul stamp
The Alice Paul Stamp was issued on August 18, 1995.

Alice Paul was instrumental in designing the campaign for suffrage. She learned civil disobedience from British suffrage leaders and applied these ideas in the U.S. On March 3, 1913, Alice organized the largest parade America had ever seen. Over 8,000 women marched through Washington D.C., receiving abuse from onlookers and little help from police. She founded the National Woman’s Party and with their help, picketed outside the White House for the next seven years. After achieving her goal with the passage of the 19th Amendment, Alice continued to work to protect women from discrimination and promote equal rights.