"The Shrieking Sisterhood;: A Comparative Analysis of the Suffrage Movement in the United States and New Zealand.
Thesis DisciplineAmerican Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The intention of this thesis is to draw attention to a much neglected part of women's suffrage history - that is, a comparative analysis of the suffrage movements in New Zealand and the United States. Historians have dismissed any suggestion of similarities between the two groups because' of the obvious differences in size and the time taken to gain the vote. However, this study reveals parallels between the two movements in terms of membership, leadership, ideologies and opposition. This is particularly highlighted in the comparison with Wyoming. These similarities, together with New Zealand women's new found 'prestige' after having won the vote, led to close relations between women of the two countries, as revealed in personal correspondence. By the late l890s United States suffragists had changed direction in both their tactics and arguments for suffrage and this, together with distance and a lack of time and money, meant that New Zealand suffragists aid was confined to emotional support rather than practical assistance. This study was, to a certain degree, limited by the lack of availability of United States primary sources. However, the Kate Sheppard Collection contains a wealth of correspondence between the New Zealand and United States suffragists and provides ample information to support the thesis. Prior to the examination of the interaction of the suffrage movements in New Zealand and the United States, we will first of all begin by considering the broader context of women's role in society. This is will be followed with a study of -the historiography of women's suffrage in Wyoming and New Zealand. We will then proceed to a comparative analysis of the leaders and supporters of the two movements. In New Zealand the women's suffrage and women's temperance organizations were inseparably linked, hence the comparative natured analysis dictates that points for comparison should be made in relation to the temperance origins of suffrage in the United States and New Zealand and to leaders with temperance links.