Carrie Chapman Catt

1900 NAWSA Presidential Acceptance - Feb. 13, 1900

Carrie Chapman Catt
February 13, 1900— Washington, D.C.
Thirty-Second Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
Print friendly

Good friends, I should hardly be human if I did not feel gratitude and appreciation for the confidence you have shown me; but I feel the honor of the position much less than its responsibility. I never was an aspirant for it. I consented only six weeks ago to stand. I was not willing to be the next president after Miss Anthony. I have known that there was a general loyalty to her which could not be given to any younger worker. Since Miss Anthony announced her intention to retire, there have been editorials in many leading papers expressing approval of her--but not of the cause. She has been much larger than our association. The papers have spoken of the new president as Miss Anthony's successor. Miss Anthony never will have a successor.

A president chosen from the younger generation is on a level with the association, and it might suffer in consequence of Miss Anthony's retirement if we did not still have her to counsel and advise us. I pledge you whatever ability God has given me, but I cannot do this work alone. The cause has got beyond where one woman can do the whole. I shall not be its leader as Miss Anthony has been; I shall be only an officer of this association. I will do all I can, but I cannot do it without the co-operation of each of you. The responsibility much overbalances the honor, and I hope you will all help me bear the burden.

PDF version