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"Correspondence, June 1916", Item 011

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June 29, 1916 Dear Suffragist:- Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt has sent to all State Presidents the following letter--- "Within half an hour after adjournment of the Democratic Convention in St. Louis the National Board met and declaring an emergency, resolved upon two things: 1. To make a drive on Congress NOW in order to secure a vote on the Federal Amendment if possible and by so doing to test the value and real meaning of the Newly-adopted planks; 2. To call the annual convention in summer instead of November as usual. The reason for this decision is as follows: The National Association has been pledged to the support of the Federal Amendment for 26 years. Both dominant parties in their recent conventions gave suffrage planks, but the Democratic plank frankly relegates the question to States while the Republican plank is interpreted by many to be strongly for for State Rights. If we take no action now, we virtually accept the ultimatum of these parties: "Go get your vote by popular referenda in the States and go without it, if you cannot get it there." If we do nothing to prevent, we shall find our Federal Amendment blocked, whichever party controls. The crisis has been created by the two conventions and we must meet it. No other body has the authority to determine big policies except the annual convention. Therefore it must be called to decide the following questions: 1. Shall we accept the advice of the two great parties and abandon the Federal Amendment, confining future activities to the States? 2. Shall we redouble our congressional energies in order to protest against the party judgment; and if so, how? 3. Shall we enter the campaign in an endeavor to pledge all candidates on the Federal Amendment and oppose those who oppose us? If we wait until after the elections before getting together, we have lost an opportunity which will not return in four years. I am certain that every president will recognize the emergency which demands this sudden call quite as readily as any member of the Board. The Board feel strongly that it is our imperative duty to call this convention at this time. If any criticise because of the unusual procedure, we shall be sustained by the fact that our best judgment demanded the call. On the other hand, should we have failed to call the convention, we feel that suffragists for a generation would have just cause to criticise us for neglect of an obvious opportunity. We feel sure we can trust all the loyal suffrage soldiers to respond to the call. Among your workers there can surely be found the necessary number to fill up your delegation. I implore you to go to work at once so that you may send to this convention not only a delegation full as to numbers but superior as to quality. We need the sober judgment of the best heads among us in this crisis. Date. September 6th to 10th inclusive Place. Atlantic City; Hall, Nixon Theatre Visitors. We wish to invite many distinguished women in order that our meeting may attract the attention it deserves. In every State there are many women of prominence who because their time is otherwise occupied are not members of our body, or if so, are too inactive in our cause to be valuable as delegation. It is important to interest them in our cause and our campaign. Will you not therefore provide a list of such women from your State who in your judgment are worthy to be invited as visitors to our convention. Let the list come as soon as possible. Deans of women in colleges, woman professors, and other professional women might be more free to attend a National Convention in summer than at any other time.