Word Challenge III: Two Words, One Speech – Sister Catt’s

Word Challenge: Two Words, One Speech – Sister Catt’s

In Part III of our Word Challenge series, Bell Curves co-founder Akil Bello examines the powerful words of one of our foremothers who spent her life fighting for women’s rights.  Originally posted by Riise on 1/30/12.

From the founding of the US to the early 20th century, the majority of women in the United States were by law not allowed to vote. It took a motivated group of people over 70 years, from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, to change this law. We remember these women today for their hard work and persistence (and sometimes for that odd-shaped Susan B Anthony dollar coin you get as change in a subway kiosk or vending machine) .

Today we are going to take a look at Carrie Chapman Catt’s 1917 address to Congress.

An excerpt:

If parties prefer to postpone action longer and thus do battle with this idea, they challenge the inevitable. The idea will not perish; the party which opposes it may. Every delay, every trick, every political dishonesty from now on will antagonize the women of the land more and more, and when the party or parties which have so delayed woman suffrage finally let it come, their sincerity will be doubted and their appeal to the new voters will be met with suspicion.

I’ve chosen inevitable and antagonize as this week’s words because this particular speech uses them in a very direct way to sum up the situation.

1. incapable of being avoided or evaded

Carrie Chapman Catt knew her end goal was going to happen eventually, and played the “you’re either with us, or against us” card to leverage Congressmen to join the cause.

1. to act in opposition to : counteract
2. to incur or provoke the hostility of

She rightfully points out that when you annoy or anger a group of voters by dragging your feet on issues important to them, they are going to remember that come election day.

So how might you see these words on a standardized test like the SAT, ISEE, SSAT, or GRE?

Chad’s antics on the football field ______ officials so much that they threw him out of the game.

(A) enthralled
(B) bored
(C) impressed
(D) antagonized
(E) disheartened

You might see these words on the SAT Writing section in Identifying Question Error questions, and need to know that there are different forms of the word.

As an added bonus for those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s you might remember this School House rock bit:

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