In 1913, activist Alice Stokes Paul returned to the United States from England where she had been involved with the English militant suffrage movement. With her friend Lucy Burns, she joined the NAWSA's Congressional Committee. In March of 1913, they organized a large-scale women's rights march in Washington, D.C. to coincide with President Wilson's inauguration. The march received an enormous amount of publicity after marchers were harassed and attacked by parade onlookers.
Later that year, Burns and Paul founded the Congressional Union (CU) as a separate organization to forward their work. Immediately, the Congressional Union began to alienate the NAWSA with its radical tactics. In February of 1914, the NAWSA and the CU officially parted ways. The CU, and later the National Woman’s party, pursued a strategy of asking women voters in the West to vote against the Democrats, in order to hold the “party in power” responsible for failing to enfranchise women.
Between 1916 and 1917, the Congressional Union was transformed into the National Woman's Party (NWP). In 1917, members of the NWP began picketing the Wilson White House continuously. The National Woman’s Party was the first group to employ this political tactic. After the start of World War I, picketers, including Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, were arrested on a trumped-up charge of blocking traffic. Imprisoned suffragists were badly treated and suffered severely. While in jail, Paul and others went on hunger strikes and were force-fed through tubes. This led to public sympathy for their cause as suffragists skillfully exploited their jailing in order to gain support for woman suffrage.
The NWP continued its activities, including protesting, picketing, petitioning, lobbying, and public speaking, until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.