ALICE PAUL Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


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Alice Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding     
political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century.   
Born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New   
Jersey, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of     
securing equal rights for all women.                             
Few individuals have had as much impact on American history as   
has Alice Paul. Her life symbolizes the long struggle for       
justice in the United States and around the world. Her vision   
was the ordinary notion that women and men should be equal       
partners in society.                                             
  When you put your hand to the plow, you can't put it down     
  until you get to the end of the row.                           
              -Alice Paul recalling the advice of her mother     
Growing up at Paulsdale                                         
William and Tacie Paul married in 1881 and moved into           
Paulsdale in 1883. Two years later, their first child, Alice,   
was born,  followed by William in 1886, Helen in 1889 and       
Parry in 1895. Alice's father was a successful businessman       
and, as the president of the Burlington County Trust Company     
in Moorestown, NJ, earned a comfortable living.  His economic   
success allowed Paulsdale to become a gentleman's farm; family   
members may have had some farm chores, but hired hands           
actually provided a majority of the farm labor. Alice's life     
on the "home farm" (as she referred to her home) marked her     
early childhood and is reflected in her work as an adult. As     
Hicksite Quakers, Alice's parents raised her with a belief in   
gender equality, and the need to work for the betterment of     
society. Hicksite Quakers stressed separation from the           
burgeoning materialistic society and advocated the benefits of   
staying close to nature. Paulsdale reflected this ideal; the     
265-acre farm was situated away from the town, isolated but     
not closed to society.                                           
Despite their relative wealth and in accordance with Quaker     
practice, the Pauls lived very simply. Alice and her siblings   
likely had many domestic and agricultural responsibilities       
instilling the values of industry and perseverance; two         
lessons critical for her later success. Though it followed       
Quaker designs for simplicity, Paulsdale boasted many           
comforts. The house was large and spacious, possessing indoor   
plumbing, electricity and a telephone by the early twentieth     
century. A wraparound porch overlooked the farmyard complete     
with a barn, hen house, icehouse, and several peach orchards.   
Irish maids and hired hands carried out the most arduous work,   
allowing Alice and her siblings to enjoy leisure activities,     
such as playing tennis at Paulsdale's own court or sitting       
under the shade of the massive Copper Beech tree watching the   
goldfish in the pond. Alice was an excellent student, a         
voracious reader, and played several extracurricular sports in   
school including basketball, baseball and field hockey.         
The most enduring legacy of Paulsdale was its role in the       
suffrage movement and the resulting influence it had upon       
Alice. Alice's suffrage ideas were planted early as Tacie, who   
as a member of the National American Woman Suffrage             
Association attended women suffrage meetings-- often with       
Alice in tow. Tacie may have also held meetings at Paulsdale     
or entertained members afterwards. It was at Paulsdale, Paul     
noted years later, that she was first introduced to the         
suffrage movement.                                               
When a Newsweek interviewer asked Paul why she dedicated the     
whole of her life to women's equality, she credited her farm     
upbringing by quoting an adage she learned from her mother,     
"When you put your hand to the plow, you can't put it down       
until you get to the end of the row."