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Leaflet issued by the Legislative Council, Boston, with arguments for and against ERA, February 1924

Benjamin L. Young, speaker of the Massachusetts House, sent this leaflet to Congress with a petition opposing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The leaflet contrasts Alice Paul’s arguments for the ERA with Young’s arguments against it. Young objected to any changes in laws affecting women, and he feared federal encroachment on states’ rights.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Leaflet issued by the Legislative Council, Boston, with arguments for and against ERA, February 1924

Equal Rights for Women

After women achieved voting rights in 1920 with the 19th Amendment, suffragist Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to guarantee equality for women in all areas of the law. Some opponents, however, feared the ERA would negate other hard-won legal protections for women. Introduced in Congress in 1923, the ERA was reintroduced in every succeeding Congress until it finally passed both chambers in 1972. Ratified by 35 of the 38 states needed, it failed to become a constitutional amendment.