Alice Paul Is Born

Alice Paul, chief strategist for the militant wing of the suffrage movement and author of the Equal Rights Amendment, was born on January 11, 1885 in Moorestown, New Jersey.

The product of an upper middle-class Quaker family, Paul attended Swarthmore College and earned a doctorate in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alice Paul joined the woman suffrage movement while pursuing graduate studies in England. There, she was schooled in the militant tactics of Emmeline Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union. Upon her return to the United States in 1910, Paul found the suffrage movement in need of new ways to capture public and press interest. In November 1912 Paul attended the annual convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and offered her services. NAWSA accepted her offer and made her chairman of their Congressional Committee.

Paul was born into a Quaker family at Paulsdale in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She was the first-born child of William Mickle Paul I (1850-1902) and Tacie Parry. Her father was a banker and businessman who served as president of the Burlington County Trust Company. Alice had two brothers, William Mickle Paul II (1886-1958) and Parry Haines, and a sister, Helen (1889-1961).

In 1901, she graduated first in her class from the Moorestown Friends School. She later attended Swarthmore College (BA, 1905), the New York School of Philanthropy (social work), and the University of Pennsylvania (MA, sociology). In 1907, she moved to England where she attended the University of Birmingham and the London School of Economics (LSE). Returning to the U.S. in 1910, she attended the University of Pennsylvania, completing a PhD in political science in 1912. Her dissertation topic was titled The Legal Position of Women in Pennsylvania. In 1927, she received an LLM, followed by a Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1928, both from American University's Washington College of Law.

While she was in England in 1908, Paul heard Christabel Pankhurst speak at the University of Birmingham. Inspired by Pankhurst's message about women's right to vote, Paul joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) where she met fellow American Lucy Burns. Her activities with the WSPU led to her arrest and imprisonment three times.

Equality of Rights Under the Law Shall Not Be Denied or Abridged By the United States Or Any State On Account of Sex. ”

— Alice Paul