The congressional debates on the 19th Amendment: Jurisdictional rhetoric and the assemblage of the US body politic

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Abstract

Through its analysis of the rhetorical means by which the US Congress overcame jurisdictional objections to federal action on the issue of woman suffrage, this essay argues that the stasis of jurisdiction operates as a mode of assemblage of discourses, institutions, and populations. In Congress, the woman suffrage issue helped re-organize federal and state prerogatives over the management of racial and ethnic relations at home and US leadership abroad. Thus, from a governmental perspective women did not emerge as constituents but as tools of public policy. As a legislative precedent, the 19th Amendment debates prompt critical attention to the particular constraints that the discourses of state institutions pose for feminist political change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-73
Number of pages23
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Citizenship
  • Immigration
  • Jurisdiction
  • Race
  • Woman suffrage

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