Hattie Caraway won a special election on January 12, 1932 with the Arkansas Democratic party‘s backing and became the first woman elected to the United States Senate. She was the first woman to serve a full term. She took office after her husband, Thaddeus H. Caraway, passed away. She had originally been appointed by the Arkansas governor Harvey Parnell to take his place.
Caraway helped to bring in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which were ways plans of recovery during the depression. She voted for anything, which were for the prohibition. She also did not believe in lynching.
When up for reelection in 1938, she beat Republican C. D. Atkinson of Fayetteville. John Little McClellan, another Democratic Senator often challenged her because he felt a woman just was not up to the task looking out for the state’s best interests.
She was known on the floor as “Silent Hattie” because she often let the men do the talking. She believed woman she be at home caring for their families. She was well aware of the families who were suffering.
In 1943, she cosponsored the Equal Rights Amendment although she wasn’t interested in woman’s suffrage.
She was known to encourage women to take on larger rolls, that may have been considered just for men, because she knew that woman could do more. Women aren’t property belong to men. They can do so much more.
Caraway may have been a conservative in the way she presented herself in office with the other members of Senate, but she let the men carry on as they normally did and voiced her votes as her constituents desired. Her biggest opponent was that men felt women couldn’t handle looking out for the state’s best interest. She worked on economic recovery legislation. Caraway knew people were out of work and needed jobs, needed support to keep their homes, and all the necessities just like we do today. That was why the New Deal was so important in those days.
The New Deal was a Progressive idea. They needed bank reform, monetary reform, securities regulations, and to stimulate the housing industry. There was the Wealth Tax Act (Revenue Act of 1935) which recovered over $250 million in additional funds. The New Deal was claimed by some to be Communism, and their were charges of fascism. These were the reforms that she and others voted on that helped raise the GDP.