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2019 Lucy Burns Essay by Evan Young

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Lucy Burns

Lucy Burns was a passionate activist in the U.S. and in the UK.  She was known for forming the National Woman's Party with her close friend Alice Paul.  Lucy Burns became increasingly passionate about activism and participated in numerous campaigns with the WSPU (Women's Social Political Union).

Lucy Burns was born on July 28, 1879.  She was the fourth of eight children of Edward and Ann Burns.  She went to many schools, including: Yale University, Vassar College, Columbia University, and the University of Oxford.  She was raised in New York to an Irish Catholic family.  Burns left Oxford to become involved in politics in England, joining the WSPU.

Lucy Burns and Alice Paul were close friends.  Lucy Burns first met Alice Paul at a London police station.  Both women had been arrested for demonstrating for the right of women to vote.  Alice Paul introduced herself when she noticed that Lucy was wearing an American flag pin on her lapel.  In 1913, they formed the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage, which was succeeded three years later by the National Woman's Party.

Lucy Burns and Alice Paul played a key role in advocating the 19th amendment that granted American women the right to vote.  According to wikipedia, Paul and Burns worked together so effectively that followers would often described them as having "one mind and spirit".  In additional to Burns and Paul's more militant tactics, the spirit form NAWSA (National American Women Associations) stemmed from their different strategies.  NAWSA was working toward securing the vote for women state-by-state, while the NWP favored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women's suffrage.

After the women of the U.S. gained the right to vote, Burns retired from political life and devoted herself to the Catholic Church and her orphaned niece.  Unfortunately Lucy Burns died on December 22, 1966, in Brooklyn New York.  Lucy Burns lived a happy life knowing women could now vote.

In conclusion, we honor Lucy Burns and Alice Paul for forming the National Woman's Party.  If they never formed the NWP women would never be able to vote for what's right.  Because of Lucy Burns, women like Sandra Day O'Connor, Serena and Venus Williams, Sally Ride and many more important women were able to vote.  That's all thanks to the national Woman's Party and Lucy Burns.

Submitted November 5, 2019