Making Democracy Work

History of the League

In her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, Missouri, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a "league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation."  Women Voters was formed within the NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where suffrage had already been attained.

The next year, on February 14, 1920 - six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified - the League was formally organized in Chicago as the national League of Women Voters. Catt described the purpose of the new organization:

    "The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles.  It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage.  Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?"

The Sudbury League was formed in 1957 and recently celebrated our Fiftieth Anniversary. Every year for the past 50 years we have sponsored Candidates' Nights for Town and State elections. We also sponsor public forums on current issues.

Highlights of our 50 years of service to Sudbury include:

1950s "Know Your Town" survey; a study of schools, including junior high and kindergarten programs; study of zoning and tax rates.

1960s Published the first Town Meeting Handbook. Conducted studies of the master plan for Sudbury and of town and school library facilities. Supported founding of Friends of the Goodnow Library and opposed overhead high-tension electric transmission lines.

1970s Studied townwide sewerage system; launched the Town Fathers Forum; studied environmental planning; supported creating a town planner position; studied libraries at K-8 schools; revised "This Is Sudbury".

1980s Studied long-range planning for Sudbury; the future of landfill, recycling, and health care in Sudbury. Recommended that the town hire a social worker. Published booklet of health care resources. Supported town swimming pool and establishing extended-day programs in schools.

1990s Studied sewerage along Route 20. Introduced and passed an article to limit speeches and abolished advance recognition at Town Meeting. Studied the Water District. Participated in the Walkways collaboration. Published a Permitting Processes booklet. Founded Domestic Violence Roundtable. Created a Sudbury 350th anniversary town map.

2000s Conducted studies of Recreation and Pay-As-You-Throw trash program. Urged combination of Water District elections with Town election. Supported Community Preservation Act. Organized the LWV Civics Bee, a contest between Weston, Wayland, and Sudbury featuring intergenerational teams answering questions about how the US government works.