Report of Mrs. Sophie G. Meredith Chairman Va. State Branch of the Congressional Union, at the annual meeting (June 28, 1916)

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In this address, at the annual meeting of the Virginia branch of the Congressional Union, chair Sophie Gooding Meredith gives a report on the progress the organization was making toward ensuring women’s suffrage and a strategy for the work to come.  The Congressional Union was renamed the National Woman’s Party in 1917.


I have called you together for our annual meeting. We must elect our officers and try to make some plans for our summer work. When we first organized we were few in numbers and now we have nearly three hundred members which is doing remarkably well for a progressive movement.

We have had much opposition owing to existing conditions. Many of our Virginia people prefer the laws that were in force a hundred and twenty-five years ago, under the articles of Confederation, in preference to the laws of our Constitution. They believe that an amendment to the United States must be passed by every state instead of three fourths of the states, that even one state can sidetrack the wishes and opinions of a large majority. In other words, that one state can be a stumbling block to the progress of all the other states. Also a great many of Virginia people prefer to work for one little part of their country instead of the whole country. Some others are so ignorant or stubborn that they insist upon ignoring facts. The facts that we have not the money the strength or the workers to go to individual voters all over the state, and that if we did it would be utterly useless, as we know perfectly well the very large majority of Virginia men do not want us to have the vote. I will not enumerate their silly unjust and selfish reasons. Now with all these forces always against us what have we accomplished? As our work is a Federal work, we must impress upon our Congress at Washington the necessity of aiding us. We must try to induce our Senators  and Representatives in Congress to use their influence in our behalf.

So at first we spent every effort in getting delegations to interview our two Senators and ten Congressmen. We were most successful in obtaining information from them as to how they stood on the Federal Amendment, and we gained a great deal of publicity from these interviews.

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We also aroused much interest and discussion in their different districts. These delegations took a great deal of time and thought and some money, but we were well repaid. How after these districts had been aroused, it was our duty to organize them.

We have succeeded in organizing the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, leaving four more to be organized before the annual meeting in Washington on the 1st December. We have also sent many telegrams and letters to the Senators and Representatives at Washington, besides having many interviews with them.

It takes money to send speakers into these districts. We need money, we need speakers, we need organizers, we need willing workers, we need enthusiasm, self-sacrifice.

Now I earnestly beg of you each one to put her shoulders to the wheel and use all her power in every direction to push this movement that is so vital and dear to us, to hasten the day when we shall throw off this yoke of slavery and irresponsibility and be able to take our place in the world. We desire a country not of slavery injustice, and man monopoly, but of freedom, justice and true democracy, where all the people, not one-half the people, may make the laws that we must all live under. Let us work for our whole country by giving our time, money and labor to the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

APA Citation:
Meredith, Sophie Gooding Rose. Report of Mrs. Sophie G. Meredith Chairman Va. State Branch of the Congressional Union, at the annual meeting (June 28, 1916). (2021, October 28). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Meredith, Sophie Gooding Rose. "Report of Mrs. Sophie G. Meredith Chairman Va. State Branch of the Congressional Union, at the annual meeting (June 28, 1916)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (28 Oct. 2021). Web. 21 Jul. 2024
Last updated: 2021, October 28
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