Difference Between NAWSA and NWP


NAWSA and NWP are organizations that are credited with working towards women’s suffrage in the USA. Women were denied the right to vote in US and by the turn of the last century the movement to ask for the right to vote for women had become a mass movement. The movement was spearheaded by two different organizations namely NAWSA and NWP, which is an offshoot of NAWSA. Many people remain confused between these two organizations that had the same objective. However, despite similarities, there were differences between NAWSA and NWP that will be highlighted in this article.


Women were not allowed to vote in the US before the early part of the 20th century. There were many organizations working to achieve voting rights for women. In 1890, National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed with the intention to lead this movement and to unify the efforts of many organizations working in this direction. It was the entry of the United States into World War I that gave an opportunity to the chairman of NAWSA, Carrie Chapman Catt, to press hard for women suffrage. She made a link of suffrage with the efforts of women for the war service and created a public perception that all those who asked for the right to vote for women were actually patriots. NAWSA pushed for an amendment in the constitution to allow women suffrage, and it was because of the efforts of this organization that 19th amendment was carried out in 1920 that allowed women the right to vote. Once the objective was achieved, NAWSA was transformed into League of Women Voters.


NWP was an organization that was formed to fight for the right of women to vote in US polity. It was headed by Alice Paul who was earlier a member of NAWSA. She was more radical in her views and organized picketing of the White House. She left NAWSA along with her supporters and formed the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. This organization later evolved into National Woman’s Party in 1917. Alice worked to expose the duplicity of the government as it advocated democracy outside the country and rejected women’s’ right to vote.

What is the difference between NAWSA and NWP?

• While there was animosity between the workers of NAWSA and NWP at that time, it is fair to see in retrospect that the tactics of the two women’s organizations complemented each other well and created the kind of pressure that was required to pass 19th amendment of the constitution to allow for women suffrage.

• The efforts of NAWSA were moderate while those of NWP were radical in nature.

• Alice Paul was the architect of NWP while Carrie Chapman Catt was the main personality in NAWSA.

• NWP was an offshoot of NAWSA.

• NAWSA was founded in 1890 while NWP got its name in 1917 as it parent organization was Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage formed by Alice Paul in 1913.

• The 19th amendment to the constitution was passed in 1920 that resulted in right to vote for women in US. It is credited to the efforts of both NAWSA and NWP.