In 1904, the Weekly Economist (Elizabeth City) printed an editorial titled “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.” The editorial predicted that the topic of women’s suffrage would become a political issue for the 1908 presidential election. But it was not until the 1912 presidential election that a national political party, the Progressive Party, adopted women’s suffrage as part of their platform. However, when the party’s presidential candidate, Theodore Roosevelt, spoke in Raleigh during his nationwide tour, he made no mention of women’s suffrage.
By 1912 six states had adopted women’s suffrage. In 1911-1912, North Carolina Superior Court Chief Justice Walter Clark campaigned for US Senator, indifferently endorsing women’s suffrage, but lost the primary election.
Women’s suffrage activities in the state accelerated in the latter part of 1912, marking an increase in the public’s interest in the topic. Activities included the formation of a suffrage league in Winston-Salem, and high school students debating the issue in a statewide competition run by debating societies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Major activities and events are listed chronologically. Each item is designated as either primarily national or North Carolina (US or NC).