Alice Paul was born into a Quaker family in Moorestown, New Jersey on 11th January, 1885. Educated in the United States at Swarthmore College and Pennsylvania University, where she earned a master's degree in sociology. In 1907 Paul she moved to England where she was a Ph.D. student at the School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
In 1908 Paul heard Christabel Pankhurst make a speech at the University of Birmingham. Inspired by what she heard, Paul joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and her activities resulted in her being arrested and imprisoned three times. Like other suffragettes she went on hunger strike and was forced-fed.
After one arrest Paul met Lucy Burns, another American who had joined the WSPU while studying in England. Paul returned home in 1910 where she became involved in the struggle for women's suffrage in the United States.
In 1913 Paul joined with Lucy Burns to form the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage (CUWS) and attempted to introduce the militant methods used by the Women's Social and Political Union in Britain. This included organizing huge demonstrations and the daily picketing of the White House.
After the United States joined the First World War, Paul was continually assaulted by patriotic male bystanders, while picketing outside the White House. In October, 1917, Paul was arrested and imprisoned for seven months.
Paul went on hunger strike and was released from prison. In January, 1918, Woodrow Wilson announced that women's suffrage was urgently needed as a "war measure". However, it was not until 1920 that the 19th Amendment secured the vote for women.
Paul continued to campaign for women's rights and in 1938 founded the World Party for Equal Rights for Women (also known as the World Women's Party). Paul also successfully lobbied for references to sex equality in the preamble to the United Nations Charter and in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Alice Paul died in Moorestown, New Jersey, on 9th July, in 1977.