About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "All Roads Lead to Power: Appointed and Elected Paths to Public Office for U.S. Women"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
June 4, 2019

Good afternoon. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased to welcome you to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through YouTube or Facebook.

Before we get started, I’d like to let you know about two other programs coming up soon in this theater.

On Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m., we have a special film for the 75th anniversary of D-day. The True Glory is the epic filmed record of the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy and the Allied push across Europe. We will screen a digitally restored version of the 1945 film created by our Motion Picture Preservation Lab. Former Senator, Secretary of Defense and Vietnam Veteran Chuck Hagel will deliver opening remarks.

And on Thursday, June 13, at noon, author Tammy Vigil will be here to tell us about her new book, Moms in Chief: The Rhetoric of Republican Motherhood and the Spouses of Presidential Nominees, 1992–2016. She explores the function of spouses in recent political campaigns and scrutinizes how their portrayal has challenged or reinforced perceptions of the role of gender in American political life.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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Today’s discussion is part of a series of programs related to our recently opened exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote.

Rightfully Hers commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment and tells the story of women’s struggle for voting rights as a critical step toward equal citizenship. The exhibit explores how American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, and class advanced the cause of suffrage and follows the struggle for voting rights beyond 1920.

Part of the exhibit looks at women not only using their votes but also running for office and taking a more public role in local, state, and national politics. As today’s book, All Roads Lead to Power, informs us, though, far more women found their way into politics through appointment rather than election.

Before the 19th Amendment, women were active in public life, but after gaining the vote, women were able to more fully participate at many levels. Let’s turn now to Kaitlin Sidorsky to learn how and why women pursue and achieve political power.

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Kaitlin Sidorsky is an assistant professor of politics at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from Brown University and a B.A. in politics and law from Bryant University. Her work has appeared in the Political Research Quarterly and the London School of Economics American Politics and Policy blog, and she has provided television commentary on elections and political news for local ABC and NBC affiliates in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kaitlin Sidorsky.