Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote (Book Review)

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Spring 2020


In Why They Marched, scholar Susan Ware paints a comprehensive picture of the women’s suffrage movement through a series of diverse biographical sketches about notable activists. Ware’s book is timely and in-line with discussions in 2019 about how to present the women’s suffrage movement in a nuanced and more accurate way that moves beyond the white middle- and upper-class narrative. The women and men (nineteen for the Nineteenth Amendment) highlighted in Ware’s text represent the multiplicity in the movement at the turn of the twentieth century. Ware’s main arguments are: first, the suffrage movement was a broad-based national and international campaign, spanning coast-to-coast and beyond U.S. borders and appealing to people from many walks of life; second, the campaign did not operate in a vacuum but rather became entangled with other social and political movements; and third, suffrage activists and organizations left behind cultural artifacts that can help us to tell their stories. Her book draws on many sources often overlooked by scholars—who typically focus on printed matter—from plaques, badges, and buttons to a death masque and a ballot box.


Review of Why they marched: Untold stories of the women who fought for the right to vote, by Susan Ware.