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tv   Lectures in History Womens Suffrage Movement  CSPAN  November 11, 2021 5:24pm-6:05pm EST

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or she knew the name of ancestors and wished to research their lives could produce a klan family memoir. >> watch this program and thousands more online at up next another class from our series, lectures in history. >> so throughout the seminar you've been thinking about images during this 19th century period. and specifically today we're going to think about the ways images really constructed gender roles particularly in the 19th century can the ways activists used images to shape, alter, change gender roles during this time period, too. so i'd like actually to start off with is just to think about the ways these images are part of our culture today. and one is the way that portraits, like susan anthony's portrait which we see in this
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2017 womens march and we see this and march down pennsylvania avenue and this emphasis on this very celebrated 19th century womens recognizes leader. and we'll talk today about how she became such a famous suffragist not only in the 19th century but also today. and i want to also think back to another parade in 1913 where we had hallens in pennsylvania avenue and pointing to this image and how it connects to our current, you know, political and social movement culture is because of this image that was very popular in june of 2020, which is related to the black lives matter movement. it's briana noble riding on a horse in oakland, california.
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and this image became a viral sensation. perhaps you all saw it, but there's really interesting similarity between these two women who are riding horses in these urban areas as symbols of these political causes that really has a sense how the similarities of these images were so famous from 1913 and images that still resonate with us today. in fact, briana actually became a spokesperson for xfinity. this image ended up not only promoting a particular idea but also selling a particular product. another recent protest image you all might remember was this black lives matter being painted outside of washington, d.c. and you might also know that suffragists were actually the first group to protest right outside the white house to
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picket the white house in 1917. they're the ones that really made this space around the white house such an important place for political protest. and so 100 years later, just over 100 years later it remains that day today. if you've ever been to washington, d.c. you've probably seen someone outside the white house protesting something. and it's because of these, you know, famous protests, these famous images of these famous protests that we've gotten at the place outside of the white house is so important to our political movement. another image that is probably across your news media consumption over the past couple of years are images of women wearing white, particularly leading political figures. this is a group from the state of the union address all wearing
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white. and they're wearing white to recall the suffragists in particular. actually the suffragists were white as we saw. they wore white at a lot of their parades and processions, and they did it for two reasons. one was to emphasize their morality, their virtue, to suggest they were kind of pure and all of the kind of connotations white might have for us. the other reason they did it is because they wanted to show up in black and white photographs. so in these black and white photographs of people marching in these streets of various gray toned backgrounds they knew women in white would show up better in black and white photographs. and they knew those black and white photographs when they were created in half tones and printed in newspapers, they would show up even better. even in the 21st century when we see these women in white seated in congress at the state of the union or even in this photograph
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here, they do tend to stand out. and that is -- that is one of the reasons why suffragists chose white to begin with. a lot of the images the suffragists created is still part of our modern political culture. i'm actually going to go back a bit further into the 18th century just to start us off and set us up for the visual conversations really taking place during the 19th century. this is a political cartoon and it's made by a london artist. he probably read about this boycott happening in north carolina in a local newspaper. as far as we know he'd never been to the colonies, but this was the scene he imagined after he read about this boycott.
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it's a group of women in north carolina who are signing a petition that they aren't going to purchase tea. and you can look closely at this scene, a lot of my images as you can see are from the library of congress. if you do a quick search on their website you can zoom in on them much more closely than you can on this video. but you can see that there's -- this is not a flattering picture, though there's a woman holding a gavel who has this large nose, very unflattering features. there's another woman holding a punch bowl which we know is not filled with fruit punch. it's filled with alcohol. there's a group pouring out tea canisters in the background. all the women in the room are ignoring the child who's under the table. these women are supposed to be caring for that child. and the idea here is that these women are ignoring their essential duties as mothers, as caregivers in order to
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participate in this petition signing. the other detail i want you to pay attention is the black woman standing behind the woman with the gavel. she's holding a quill with an ink well and she's not only supporting these women in their participation, she's also looking very eager to sign herself. she looks interested in the process, interested in participating. and so this image is doing at least two things that i want to really point out to us. one, is it it's challenging the patriarchy. it's suggesting if women participate in politics it'll turn topsy-turvy the gender roles colonists are experiencing in american society in the 18th century, right? it'll make women more masculine. it'll mean women are abandoning their families and ignoring
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their children. the enslaved woman we see here also emphasizes this petition, this scene in challenging the racial hierarchy, challenging white supremacy. it's challenging the dominance of slavery, which is a really central economic driver in the british colonies during the late 18th century. so the idea here is to laugh at these women, to mock them, to not take them seriously. and also expressing anxieties about whether this rebellion that is starting in the colonies might not just challenge the british government, the british empire as they know it but might also be part of this challenge of gender and racial hiarkries. and this kind of representation actually doesn't change much. so i want us to see kind of the similarities of this conversation over time. so as you know by the 1840s the
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womens rights activists are petitioning on a much broader scale not only for the right to vote but also for property rights, to have better access to education, to be participants and leaders within the church, a range of issues. and by 1850 we have the very first national womens rights convention in worcester, massachusetts. by that time americans throughout the country are very aware of this rising, growing womens rights movement and its vibeerance and increasing power in the united states. and yet the images are changing very little. this is about 75 years after that previous image. you see a woman in the center who's smoking, wearing bloomers, she's showing us her ankles which may not seem very scandalous to us in the 21st century but would have been remarkable in 1851.
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she has her hand fairly consendingly placed on this man's head hunched over doing these menial tasks. both of them are ignoring the child who is crying in the front of the room. you know, his banner says no more papa and mama. in the background we have these two women both holding banners as well also holding bloomers. one says no more basement and kitchen, and i think she's intending to represent servants, working class women. and the other one is a black woman who's smoking a pipe and she has a sign protesting slavery. so we have this scene that's very much kind of in the same world as the previous one. it's suggesting that if women gain rights, if women seek power and win power they're going to abandon their domestic duties and force men to become more womanly, and it's going to lead
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to other changes including challenging the class hierarchy like you do with a domestic servant as well as the racial hierarchies and the system of slavery. this is the moment when there are a lot of these prints and this incredibly broad scale, right? we know this is the moment where illustrated newspapers are on the rise. and so i just want to give you a sense of the breadth of showing you this other one from 1851. very similar tropes. we have a woman smoking a cigar, women wearing mens clothing, women wearing bloomers. and i should note these bloomer skirts are very short. and a in reality a lot of women who wear bloomers their skirts were down to the ankles.
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another woman off to the right side pulling up her bloomer pant and showing off her ankle again. and also in this image have two women with their backs toward us who are actually linking arms giving a suggestion these women are so reliant on each other and so interested in only promoting interests perhaps of other women that they're romantically interested in other women as well and kind of fully abandon men in this version of their reality. and so i want to kind of connect this to some of the civil war industry you've been probably talking about in your conversations. by the time we get to the civil war era, the 19th century the association between womens dress with weakness, with frivolity, with the kind of person you don't take very seriously politically or otherwise becomes part of a meme related to the
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capture of jefferson davis after the civil war because he is caught wearing womens clothing. and this becomes an incredibly popular image to reproduce in a variety of ways. so, for example, here are some versions of these image. if you do some quick searching you can find many, many more examples of this. and this joke really only works if you think of men in womens clothing as womens clothing being this kind of signifier that you were less than, that you were weaker, that you are worth mocking, that it's laughable, right? so it's this signifier he's no longer a powerful person when we see him in these -- in womens clothing like this. so this is the -- this is the way even womens rights imagery when we see them wearing
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bloomers, this is suggesting they're wearing masculine clothing they are slightly more powerful and their gender roles during this time period. so i want to jump this is right around the time period as we looked at 1869, so just after the civil war. and as you all know in the immediate aftermath of the civil war people are considering what to do next. by 1869 americans are debating the 15th amendment. it's about to be ratified. the 15th amendment, of course, prohibits voter discrimination based on race and effectively franchises black men. in this moment people are also wondering should women get to the vote, too? and so this image actually suggests what will happen if women win the vote. and it looks to all of us very similar to what we've been seeing, right?
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we see women in slightly more traditional clothing, but they are wearing kind of frivolous outlandish versions of that clothing. their hair is far larger -- far largen than their heads, extravagant bows. it's really to emphasize they are kind of too interested in fashion and not practical enough to be, you know, proper voters. one of the favorite details of the scenes is the vote for the celebrated man tamer. i think this phrase really explicitly says about what they think about women in politics at the time and in fact refers to a lot of what people say in politics even about women in politics even in the 21st century. the other detail about this scene i want to make sure we point out is this man carrying a baby, which is a very populartrope that's repeated
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over and over again in these anti-womens rights images. and we see this woman telling him he needs to take care of the baby and the man absolutely appalled he has to take care of this. so these anti-women rights images as you can see this is a century after the first historical image i show you. they remain consistent over time, and through the end in 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment, and in fact a lot of these anti-womens right images, these scenes still are part of our imageerally of the 20th century, too. so you can see why suffragists worked very hard to challenge these ideas. and so one of the things that you can probably already tell about these anti-womens rights images is that they're not coordinated. these publishers, these editors,
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these artists aren't in a group together all deciding to coordinate an attack against the womens rights movement. this is simply an organized, loose affiliation where every publisher knows that a majority of their readers against womens voting rights. so they publish these images in their illustrated newspaper, most of their readers will support them. one change we have in the 1860s as you know it becomes so very popular. and suffragists have very little control over mainstream news consumption, news publication. they can take these photographs. they can sell them to at least their supporters and perhaps even a broader public through a studio. and so it's really the first activist to do this very effectively and in a very coordinated way.
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this is one of her many photographs. a lot of the photographs she looks very similar. so this is very thoughtfully posed portrait. and this also says that the bottom a shadow to support the substance. as you all know photodprfs are made using during this time period. so a shadow is a very common term of a photograph. she's selling this shadow to support the substance because she is a professional reformer and she lives off the money she makes as a reformer but also her substantial reform. she puts money into supporting herself but also the causes she works towards. she's an anti-slavery and womans rights activist who by the 1860s is a very popular lecturer, very famous and she decides to sit for this portrait to prove a couple of things about her. one she wants to portray herself
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as a very respectful, respectable, fairly refined, motherly, feminine figure. and so we can see that all of the details, the props in this scene are a part of that image, right? we have this kind of suggestion of domestticity as well as the suggestion of kind of activities with the knitting. she's also emphasizing that she is a very matronly respectable woman with her clothes. they're fairly simple, and they really emphasize she's a workingwoman especially because of her head wrap. in contrast we have elizabethicaty stanton and susan b. anthony who are far less interested or concerned with appearing domestic or motherly. in fact the expressions on their
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faces are very different. they look more aggressive, defiant. they have a little bit less to prove. it's not only challenging the anti-womens right cartoons we're looking at, she's also challenging the racist stereo types that are so popular at the time as well. they see the success of distributing a portrait like sojourner truth, the interest in them and the way it can challenge these dominant ideas and decide to do their own portrait. you can see they're more interested in showing a little bit more about their fashion. they've got these lacy kind of shawl and this lacy color and you can see more jewelry with them, so they're clearly wealthier than sojourner truth is, so they're really emphasizing they're leaders of a movement, that you better not cross them and that they are
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going to be pushing forward together. and this doesn't change anti-womens rights cartoons too much, but it does in one really significant way. and that is the previous illustrations we were looking at often really emphasize nameless generic women, but once womens individual portraits like susan b. anthony become more familiar, the cartoonists actually identify which suffragists they're making fun of. basically exactly copied the 1870 portrait in this illustration, and it's very similar to the other -- other cartoons we were looking at earlier. we have susan b. anthony wearing very masculine looking clothing. her skirt is too short. she's got boots on and the boots even have spurs on them. in the background we have a womens political rally, and this is from 1873 so women were not
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yet having these kind of political protests and rallies yet. we also have a woman who's a police officer and two men who are doing domestic tasks including holding a baby and grocery shopping. so very similar to the other images we were looking at but slightly updated in that you can tell immediately that it's susan b. anthony. and the artist was so intense on emphasizing kind of like particularly taking anthony down, that the artist actually replicated the eye issue that she had. if you look closely here you can see that one of her eyes is slightly out of focus. and this was one of the reasons why she often posed in profile, but the artist perhaps knew this and decided to replicate that in this front page illustration for the daily breakfast.
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suffragists still wanted to appear like these kind of political figures these candidates like images we're so familiar with today. i'm sure you can think of many versions of this image in many institutions that you've been inch. so they decide to create one of their first major visual represent projects through the history of women suffrage. and that was first published in 1881 and eventually became a set of six volumes that were about 1,000 pages each that were published from 1881 to 1962. so these are two images from the very first volume edited by anthony stanton and matilda gauge. and they told a very particular story as the woman suffrage movement. they wanted to emphasize first that women were leaders, and so when they were creating these portraits they really made sure that they resembled the portraits we were just looking
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at here. they also decided they wanted to emphasize that they did not want to include any portraits of men, despite the fact that men were really important to the womens voting rights movement, they were important leaders and played a significant role in for example the publication of their newspapers and leadership of their organizations, but this book really fused that image and really only emphasizes female leadership. they also only include this portrait of white women in this text. so even though they knew sojourner truth, worked with her on and off regularly and many others, they didn't include any portraits of them. they also decided to really minimize the importance of the competing organizations. so they had their own organization and there was another organization called the
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american suffragist association. so really the version of history that became the dominant history of the movement and in fact still really affect our interpretation of the movement today because we often think about stanton and anthony as leaders of the movement and often women of color. her boston organization was dramatically larger than nares, far more successful newspaper, all of them often get lost in favor of this written narrative they created. and this is just to remind you these anti-women rights cartoons are still the most popular images in, you know, american visual culture in the late 19th century. this is stereograph from 1899, very much again if women participate in politics they're going to be interested in reading newspapers and paying attention to things other than the laundry, which is what this man in the background is doing.
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by the late 19th century and early 20th century suffragists decided to change tactics. so they had promoted portraits of their leaders especially in the late 19th century but
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>> that word, that praise two good votes. this is an emphasis on who -- and many other suffer ijs like her think of as a good voter. we see this white mother with her children, three children around here in this ideal home. a kettle on the stove be and this is the kind of good voter. so people who maybe can't have one parent stay at home with their children, to people who don't have as much money at this woman or people of color or, you know, an immigrant perhaps, these people are not included in this propaganda of why women need to vote. it's a very popular kind of
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component of the suffrage campaign. rose o'neill, another famous artist of the time, she, you might remember, you know, fam the familiar with the design, it says give mother the votes we needed. it's kind of part of protecting their food, their health, their play, their home, their schools, et cetera. so these are all the reasons why suffrages and many others are arguing that women need to vote. and there is also emphasis in response to those political cartoons that women who are suffragists are fashionable and very feminine. this is the before and after image showing what suffragists used to like. you know, this frumpy woman with glasses and her skirt is a little too short. this long, frumpy jacket.
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this idealized, elite fashionable tight with this extravagant feathered hat who looked very similar to the representation of this ideal gibson girl from this era. and you can imagine why women of color like marry church are trying to be included in this imagery. so this really focuses on promoting the votes for white women in particular. and none of their imagery emphasize thaz they are also planning for the vote for women of color. mary church was born a slave but became one of the first women in the united states to earn a -- first black woman in the united states to earn a bachelor and master's degree. also elected the first president of the national association of
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colored women founded in 1896. and this organization was different from other suffrage organizations. they supported the vote. they wanted the vote for women. they were also thinking more broadly about gender and race-based issues. they were thinking about protecting the vote for black men who were losing it on a broad scale in the south in the 1890s. anti-segregation, anti-lynching, how to educate their children better. so it was a much more broad movement. and mary church terrell empathizes that she and her fellow black women's rights activists are extraordinarily respectable, refined, elegant. she was very interested in fashion. and you can see she often has the extravagant hats on herself into these images. she was a very wealthy woman, very elite woman in washington,
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d.c., at the time. and you can see the similarities between her and this image from one of her speeches and the representation of an idealized so-called new negro woman. it's the hairstyle and dress from the gibson girl ideal that we were looking at just a moment ago. unlike the images i have shown you so this far, this is unusual. this is the only one that i found in my research that emphasized that black women needed the vote in order to be good mothers, in order to protect their families. so this is from the 1910s. what votes for women mean to the
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south. pufl, the national association of colored women did not have the funds or resources or, you know, people power to create the same kind of propaganda that these white women's organizations did despite the fact that terrell advocated for a portion of the organization and budget to be spent on visual campaigning. the naacp actually created this for the crisis. and so this is kind of one of the few pro-women's voting rights propaganda pieces we have that really emphasizes black women need political power. this woman is a holding a bat and beating down segregation, the jim crow laws and grandfather causes in order to protect the women in her skirts. so this is really emphasizing that not only white women need to vote, but black women do, too. for a similar reason, which is
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to protect their families. this is different from the images we have been looking at previously and corresponds with a different tactical shift within the movement itself as well. this is the moment in the early 1910s, starting in 1907, but by the 1910s we have a lot of suffrage activists walking in parades like this one. this is the 1913 parade we looked at at the very beginning of our conversation on the horse in 1913. this is the same parade. and so this is a very different world of protesting, right? from the images of women as mothers we have been looking at, too. and so this image really emphasizes that women are kind of taking -- and they are also very conscious of taking advantage of the fact that half tones are become more popular in news publications.
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they are also in this particular case taking advantage of the fact that the next day was going to be woodrow wilson's inauguration. so they are away there is going to be a lot of press in washington, d.c., a lot of photojournalists in washington, d.c., so they take advantage of that with this parade. and they kind of have this idealized kind of very costume spectacular representation. and the next image that i am going to show you kind of adds a better sense of why someone like mary church terrell would work so hard on her public image. i kind of want to prepare you for this racist stereotype here. this is from 1913. and it's making fun of the women who are participating in the 1913 parade. the white women who were organizing it did not want to have black and white women march together. originally they were open to it but then a contingent of
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suffragists protested against it and that's what we see. a white woman is appalled that these black women want to march with her to also ask for the vote. and we can see that this cartoon is doing two things. it's making fun of the suffragists who don't want them to participate b but it's also a racist stereotype of these black women who want to march in the parade as well. emphasizing facial features, they don't have idealized body types, their fashions are not current. we can see that this is kind of doing both things and we can understand why someone like mary church terrell who wants to emphasize that black women are these respectful -- leaders is doing the work that she is doing. and so when we're thinking about these political protest, ultimately in the 1913 brady, i
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had idab. wells marches, mary church terrell. it was far more integrated than that cartoon suggests chls we should remember that black women were far more threatened as well. they were more susceptible to violence. they were more susceptible even to critique from their fellow marchers. mary church terrell also participated in the pickets in washington, d.c., that i mentioned at the very beginning. as i said, these very first pickets at the white house. and they started putting these pickets together in january of 1917 which is the same year that, same month that the united states is entering world war i. there is a lot of controversy over whether they should be doing this at the time. i would argue we need these
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pickets and the publicity that they attract, these photographs, as you know, they were ultimately arrested, sent to work houses for -- went on hunger strikes and all of that garnered significant publicity. not to mention the fact that, you know, the president drove by them every day in and out of the white house, could see them from his windows, him and many other politicians were having to kind of deal with the consequences of this protest. and yet one of the really powerful images that the suffragists really made -- is this idea that women were participating in the war effort, were patriotic citizens, were motherly caregivers, like the poster we see here. you can see that this is a direct kind of continuation of that suffrage imagery we were look at a moment ago. it says the greatest mother in the world. the greatest mother in the world is the mother who citizen, who is are willing to extend her
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caregiving expertise in support of her country as a nurse in this particular case. so i want to emphasize that although isn't technically a suffrage poster, this is an image that's very much building off the rhetoric, the imagery of the suffrage of campaigns from earlier that we discussed. in comparison to the protesters we were looking at, the picketers, there were a lot more suffragists who decided to enlist as nurses, who decided to become farmers, who decided to work in factories in order to support the war effort and their existence became the reason why a lot of political officials, including woodrow wilson himself, they used these women as examples for why they were supporting women's voting rights. they said that women were, you know, participate -- you know, being patriotic, demonstrating
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their support for the nation in these various ways, rarely acknowledged the importance of these picketers at the white house, burr i think we can agree that it was really the combination of these two kinds of popular images, whether controversial which kept them in the news, kept them on people's minds and this moderate and even conservative representation that gave more conservative politicians and officials, more moderate politicians and officials, too, a case for why they are making this decision. and ultimately a lot of women did not gain the right to vote and it is reflected very much by the imagery that we have been looking at. so the amendment declared that it prohibited voter skrilt nation based on gender, based on sex. so this means that any state laws that put into place
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grandfather clauses, taxes, literally tax, anything that prevents native american women don't even have citizenship rights on the hole, asian american don't until the 1940s. so this 19th amendment really most effectively enfranchises white women. and we can see a lot of the propaganda is reflective of that. a. download c-span's new mobile app and stay up to date. from live streams at the house and senate floor and key congressional hearings to white house events and supreme court oral arguments. even our live interactive morning program "washington journal" where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. up next


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