Across the nation, celebrations are planned for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women their right to vote. This quote from Carrie Chapman Catt is a favorite, “As a matter of fact we do not care a ginger snap about anything but that Federal Amendment”.
Let’s make some awesome ginger snaps and learn a little about Catt and her single-minded approach to win the necessary votes to ratify the 19th Amendment. There’s a lot to celebrate this week. Besides St. Valentine’s Day, it’s Susan B. Anthony’s birthday and the anniversary of the League of Women Voters. We better make a big batch of cookies.
There are many recognizable names attached to the women’s suffrage movement, lesser known is Carrie Chapman Catt. This is puzzling because she is a key person in women’s suffrage. Among her many responsibilities, she was the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and founder of the League of Women Voters. She possessed the skill to make and carry out successful political strategies which proved critical for the passage of the 19th Amendment.
As early as 1880s Catt’s involvement in the movement included working with the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. She became a speaker for the National American Woman Suffrage Association and following Susan B. Anthony, Catt was the president, from 1915 to 1920. She was responsible for the “Winning Plan” to coordinate statewide suffrage campaigns in support of a constitutional amendment.
First, she brought together the New York suffrage groups, winning women’s right to vote for the State in 1917. Then, she worked toward securing the other states’ support for the national amendment. The 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920, thanks to a mother and Catt follower whose son, Harry Burn, was a 24 year old Tennessee state legislator. He changed his vote from Nay to Aye deciding the fate of the 19th Amendment after receiving a note from his mother that read:
“Dear Son, … Hurry and vote for Suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt…I’ve been waiting to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet…. Don’t forget to be a god boy and help Mrs. Catt with her “Rats.” Is she the one that put rat in ratification, Ha! No more from mama this time. With lots of love, Mama.”
On February 14, 1920, Catt founded the League of Women Voters to educate women on political issues. The League continues to carry out their mission for all genders. Since it’s founding, the League remains a grassroots nonpartisan political organization. That means, it doesn’t support or oppose political parties or candidates but does take positions on issues that its’ member believe are important. Members educate the public, register people to vote and lobby legislators on League’s positions. Check it out locally, at www.lwvsaratoga.org or at www.lwvny.org.
To make Ginger Snaps from David Lebovitz, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. With a mixer, beat butter. Add sugar. Stir in vanilla, molasses and egg. Mix together with the dry ingredients. At this point, you’ll made logs. Think of those tube of cookie dough you buy for the kids. Divide the dough in two equal portions and roll out each. No need to be perfect. Roll up into a log and wrap with plastic wrap. Put in freezer until firm. Slice the dough into ¼ inch rounds with a sharp knife. Press into coarse sugar and place sugar side up on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes. For softer cookies, remove around 10 to 12 minutes. Bake longer for snappier cookies.
Enjoy your ginger snaps and have your voice heard, vote.
- 2 cups flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ ground black pepper
- 11 Tablespoons butter, unsalted at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup mild flavored molasses
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- coarse sugar crystals for coating the cookies
- Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.
- In another bowl, beat together the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth, stopping the mixer to scrape down any butter clinging to the sides of the bowl.
- Stir in vanilla, molasses and egg.
- Mix in the dry ingredients gradually until the dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough in two equal portions and roll each on a lightly floured surface until each is about 2 inches.
- Roll the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice cookie dough into ¼ inch rounds with sharp knife. Dip one side and press firmly in a bowl of coarse sugar. Place sugar side up on baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
- Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until deep golden brown. Cookies will puff up a bit while baking, then settle down when they're done. Bake on lower end of cooking time for softer cookies and more for snappier ones.
- Let cookies cool two minutes, then remove to cooling rack.