IAH 201 3.14.07 - IAH 201 Spring 2007 Women's Political...

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IAH 201 Spring 2007 Women's Political Participation in the U.S., 1848-1920 First Wave Feminism Jane Addams, “why women should vote,” 1915 “If woman would fulfill her traditional responsibility to her own children; if she would educate and protect from danger factory children who must find their recreation on the street; if she would bring the cultural forces to bear upon our materialistic civilization… then she must bring herself to the use of the ballot-that latest implement for self- government” Thesis: The struggle to abolish slavery in the 19th century gave American women a language of equality to fight for women's rights. That language of equality was not always an effective strategy, however, and women frequently fought for their right to vote by using a language of difference: by claiming that their domestic virtues would cleanse politics. I. Women's legal, cultural and political status in 19th century 1. cultural s eparate spheres women are consigned to domestic roles, women were segregated in public spaces and discouraged from public speaking " cult of domesticity" 2. educational women were essentially excluded from higher education, professions 3. political Suffrage: right to vote (enfranchisement means suffrage as well); women were not allowed to vote (women were considered absolutely dependent on their husbands) 4. legal/economic Coverture : married women were legal possessions, not legal persons in the eyes of the law. No control over property
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IAH 201 3.14.07 - IAH 201 Spring 2007 Women's Political...

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