Suffrage Database

Women’s Suffrage in the News

For our database, we decided to focus on the strategies and characteristics of women’s suffrage demonstrations across geographic space. Each group member was responsible for searching events which occurred in the Northeast, Southeast (the mid-Atlantic), Midwest, and West coast regions in the United States. We built our database across three sheets: Event_ID, Organization_ID, and Source_ID. In the Event_ID tab, we included the type, start date, city, state, region, number of people involved, length, number of arrests, and male participation. We recorded organizations involved with the events in Organization_ID, as well as the primary sources that document each event in the Source_ID tab. We decided to cover geographic, descriptive, and participant characteristics so we could ask a variety of tailored questions, and identify broader patterns and trends across suffrage activism.

My overall question of the database is, how do strategies of public demonstration differ geographically? I found the mid-Atlantic region to have the most picketing events, presumably because of Washington D.C. The Northeast had the greatest variety of events, likely due to the number of large cities within its vicinity. This region also held the highest number of parades and mass meetings which included large turnouts. The events that took place in the Midwest region is characterized by bazaars, fairs, conventions, and campaigning and fundraising efforts. Lastly, the West held protests, rallies, and riots. However, there are only three entries. Therefore, the representation may not be accurate.

Filters were used to look at relationships between event characteristics such as arrests, male participants, organization, and regions. Findings according to this database include:

  • Arrests occurred mainly at protests and picketing events in the mid-Atlantic region. The majority of events with arrests had all-women participation, only one event with male involvement. There were no arrests in events at conventions and other peaceful gatherings. Therefore, there could be a relationship between male participation, event type, and arrest outcome.
  • Male participation was highest in the Northeast, specifically in Massachusetts, followed by the mid-Atlantic region, and the Midwest. They most often participated in events with large numbers, such as parades, mass meetings, and conventions. Male participation also followed a trend on the timeline. From their lowest involvement in the early stages to highest activity from 1913-1915, until their attendance dropped by 1916.
  • In addition to protests and picketing events, women-heavy participation occurred in events that involved educational and/or activist efforts, such as, booths at the suffrage bazaar to raise awareness.

Overall, the experience of creating a database was interesting! They are incredibly useful for historians to pick up on trends and patterns on a large scale of data. The benefits of using a database include the ability to ask both broad and specific questions from the same dataset. I learned how difficult it could be to build a database. Particularly with the decisions behind entering data. For example, at one event (the suffrage bazaar) several smaller events occurred within the larger event. Therefore, if I enter them separately from the bazaar, it doesn’t accurately reflect the information. If I umbrella the information under the larger event, I lose the details of the smaller events.

 

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