Suffrage and Its Limits

The New York Story

Edited by Kathleen M. Dowley, Susan Ingalls Lewis, and Meg Devlin O'Sullivan
Preface by Kathy Hochul

Subjects: New York/regional, Women's Studies, History, Political Science, Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438479682, 194 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438479699, 194 pages, September 2020

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul


Introduction: Suffrage and Its Limits: The New York Story
Kathleen M. Dowley, Susan Lewis, and Meg Devlin O'Sullivan

Part I: Investigating the Past

1. The Struggle for Suffrage and Its Aftermath in New York State
Susan Goodier and Karen Pastorello

2. 1917: How New York Women Won the Vote
Susan Ingalls Lewis

3. After the Vote: Continuing the Struggle for Women's Social, Legal, and Political Equality
Julie A. Gallagher, Joanna L. Grossman, and Meg Devlin O'Sullivan

Part II: Interrogating the Present

4. Women in State Legislatures: New York in Comparative Perspective
Kira Sanbonmatsu

5. Women in Local Political Office in New York State
Kathleen (kt) Tobin

6. New Yorkers' Views on Women and Politics One Hundred Years after State Suffrage
Kathleen M. Dowley and Eve Walter

Part III: Imagining the Future

7. The Limits of Woman Suffrage and the Unfinished Business of Liberal Feminism
Amy R. Baehr

8. Making Freedom Moves: The Abolitionist Praxis of Black Women's Liberation
Jasmine Syedullah and Gabrielle Baron-Hill

9. Which Way Forward? Freedom Organizing in the Twenty-First Century
Barbara Smith

Appendix: Women in Politics: Past, Present, and Future
List of Contributors

Reflects on the legacy and limits of suffrage in New York State as a way to understand present-day issues with women's social and political rights, as well proposes ideas for future progress.


Suffrage and Its Limits offers a unique interdisciplinary overview of the legacy and limits of suffrage for the women of New York State. It commemorates the state suffrage centennial of 2017, yet arrives in time to contribute to celebrations around the national centennial of 2020. Bringing together scholars with a wide variety of research specialties, it initiates a timely dialogue that links an appreciation of accomplishments to a clearer understanding of present problems and an agenda for future progress. The first three chapters explore the state suffrage movement, the 1917 victory, and what New York women did with the vote. The next three chapters focus on the status of women and politics in New York today. The final three chapters take a prospective look at the limits of liberal feminism and its unfinished agenda for women's equality in New York. A preface by Lieutenant Governor Katherine Hochul and a final chapter by activist Barbara Smith bookend the discussion. Combining diverse approaches and analyses, this collection enables readers to make connections between history, political science, public policy, sociology, philosophy, and activism. This study moves beyond merely celebrating the centennial to tackle women's issues of today and tomorrow.

Kathleen M. Dowley is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science and International Relations at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Susan Ingalls Lewis is Professor Emerita of History at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Meg Devlin O'Sullivan is Associate Professor of History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz.


"Overall, the book's contributors should be lauded for their work to provide a comprehensive perspective on the passage of women's suffrage legislation." — Hudson River Valley Review

"This is a strong contribution to the field and serves as a snapshot of several different ways scholars study the lives of women—in a historical context, through political science, through the lens of black feminist studies, and also personal experiences." — Jennifer A. Lemak, Chief Curator of History at the New York State Museum