U.S. Senate Race

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Photograph of women holding banners outside in front of stores. Banners read "Tennessee," "Connecticut," and "We protest against the continued disfranchisement of women for which the Republican party is now responsible. The Republican party defeated ratification in Delaware. The Republican party is blocking ratification in Vermont. The Republican party is blocking ratification in Connecticut. When will the Republican party stop blocking suffrage?"

Connecticut would participate in a heated battle for the U.S. Senate.  Republican Senator Frank B. Brandegee was seeking re-election to a third full term in 1920 and would face a direct challenge from several groups and individuals throughout the State. His outspoken challenges toward the League of Nations and prohibition were well known and his passionate opposition toward child labor legislation, women’s suffrage, and other reform causes brought antagonistic debates on the Senate floor.  Speeches delivered at campaign rallies would be a ranting theme of the “America First” slogan.  Speaking to an estimated crowd of 1,500 at the Danbury Fair, the Danbury Evening News reported the Senator’s tirade promised that the Stars and Stripes would never be hauled down and succeeded by the white flag of internationalism.  Those who opposed Senator Brandegee, within and outside the party structure, that it was time for the Senator to be voted out of Congress.

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Senator Frank B. Brandegee - New London, CT.  Served in the US Senator from 1905 to 1924.

Senator Brandegee voted against the “Anthony amendment” 4 times, once in 1914 and 3 times within a 9 month period between 1918 and 1919.  His views were quiet clear in what he believed to be the proper role for women in America.  During a military appropriations debate on the Senate floor, Brandegee advised women to stop “bleating around here about their saving democracy by forcing their way into caucuses and conventions, they had better go home and knit bandages and pick lint.”   As campaigning got underway in Connecticut, Brandegee could no longer ignore the controversy surrounding women’s suffrage.  His past opposition towards women’s suffrage shifted to State’s deciding on the issue of suffrage.  He was quickly advised not to mention women’s suffrage at all while campaigning.  Instead, he successfully ran as a defender of the Constitution and against League of Nations. 

U.S. Senate Race