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More than Black and White: Woman Suffrage and Voting Rights in Texas, 1918-1923
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I explore the intersection of the woman suffrage movement and minority voting rights in Texas, a state that did not require voters to be citizens but disfranchised all servicemen for the length of their enlistment during World War I. I scrutinize congressional and legal records, newspapers, and correspondence to show how the Nineteenth Amendment, which removed sex as a legal barrier to voting, ultimately strengthened white political control in the state. My dissertation analyzes how Anglo, black, Mexican American and Mexican immigrant women, working separately or collectively, participated in and at times benefitted from the woman suffrage movement, which caused unforeseen relaxations of minority voting restrictions before the legislature acted to further restrict voting rights. I analyze how laws regulating elections affected women differently based on race and citizenship status. I maintain that politicians pass enfranchising legislation when it in some way benefits those already in power, and likewise they deploy fears of unethical or illegal voting when it benefits them as well. I argue that from WWI through the early 1920s, full citizenship was increasingly defined by the ability or right to vote.
Votes for Women
World War I
Gunter, Rachel Michelle (2017). More than Black and White: Woman Suffrage and Voting Rights in Texas, 1918-1923. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from