A Rhetoric of Inclusion and the Expansion of Movement Constituencies: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Classed Politics of Woman Suffrage
Abstract: Recently, rhetorical scholars have paid closer attention to how the politics of inclusion function in social movements and counterpublics. While these studies demonstrate how movement constituencies worked together as coalitions and alliances, they have yet to address how one group overcomes its resistance to another. To address this gap, this study turns to the rhetoric of Harriot Stanton Blatch. In the early twentieth century, Stanton Blatch successfully forged alliances between elite and working class suffragists. Yet, during the 1890s, Stanton Blatch’s appeals centered on persuading elite women to include working class women in the suffrage movement. Thus, this essay argues that Stanton Blatch advanced a rhetoric of inclusion that made visible, resisted, and rearticulated class difference toward more inclusive suffrage constituencies. This study finds that, through the process of redrawing boundaries of inclusion, a rhetor must confront the persistent and uneasy tension between inclusion and exclusion.