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Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924


Publication Year: 2001

An original and timely examination of women's long history of participating in partisan politics, Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924 explores the forces that propelled women to partisan activism in an era of widespread disfranchisement and provides a new perspective on how women fashioned their political strategies and identities before and after 1920._x000B__x000B_Melanie Susan Gustafson examines women's partisan history as part of the larger history of women's political culture. Contesting the accepted notion that women were uninvolved in political parties before they formally got the vote, Gustafson reveals the length and depth of women's partisan activism between the founding of the Republican party, whose abolitionist agenda captured the loyalty of many women, and the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment._x000B__x000B_Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924 presents the complex interplay of partisan and nonpartisan activity, the fierce debates among women about the best way to make their influence felt, and the ebb and flow of enthusiasm for women's participation within the Republican party. Gustafson documents the emergence of third parties--in particular the Progressive party, which split off from the Republican party in 1912--that fused the civic world of reform organizations with the electoral world of voting and legislation. She also profiles the leading women Republicans and activists, both familiar (Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Addams, Mary Church Terrell) and less well known (Anna Dickinson, Victoria Woodhull, Judith Ellen Foster, Mary Ann Shadd Cary)._x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Women in American History


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-7

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pp. vii-11

It gives me great pleasure upon completing this book to acknowledge the many colleagues and friends who provided help and support. I begin with Mary Rothschild, Katherine Jensen, and Kathryn Kish Sklar. I first met Mary and Kitty when they visited the University of Wyoming, where I was an undergraduate studying with Kath. Mary came to help Kath initiate an oral...

Abbreviations Used in the Text

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pp. xi-13

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pp. 1-6

By early 1854, people across the Midwest had come to the conclusion that it was time to create a new political party to protest the extension of slavery.In March, in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, fifty-four citizens adopted the name “Republican” for their new political organization to protest the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The name was the only logical one to counter the...

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1. Loyal Republican Women, 1854–65

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pp. 7-33

On September 10, 1860, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a group of women from Seneca Falls, New York, presented a banner to the town’s Wide-Awake Republicans, a marching club of young men who urged the party to keep“wide-awake” on the slavery question. The Wide-Awakes “caught the spirit of the campaign for freedom” and swept the country like an “electric cur-...

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2. The Entering Wedge:Republicans and Women’s Rights, 1866–84

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pp. 34-60

Northern women earned praise for their wartime efforts in the Sanitary Commission and the WLNL.1 Their endeavors also taught them important lessons, including “that they had an equal interest with man in the administration of Government, enjoying or suffering alike its blessings or its miseries.”2 To translate praise into rights, league women became advocates for a...

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3. Devotions and Disharmonies, 1881–1910

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pp. 61-89

At the same time that Susan B. Anthony and other suffragists were explor-ing independent political paths outside the Republican party in the 1880s, other women were finding new ways to demonstrate their partisan loyalties and push for greater partisan rewards. Judith Ellen Foster, who founded the first woman’s partisan organization formally recognized by the Repub-...

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4. The Progressive Spirit, 1910–12

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pp. 90-114

In 1910 the Outlook, a self-avowed “progressive” magazine editorially controlled by Lyman Abbott and Theodore Roosevelt, explored recent changes in political culture as the country moved from the era that historians call the “Gilded Age” into the one called the “progressive era.”1 It reported that an individual “accustomed to the torchlight processions of the campaigns...

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5. A Contest for Inclusion:Gender, Race, and the Campaign of 1912

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pp. 115-141

In the middle of August 1912, Theodore Roosevelt wrote Jane Addams that he wished her to write articles on the “new movement and what we Progressives are striving for in the way of social justice, especially for the women and children and those men who have the hardest time in life.”1 Writing campaign literature had been a function of partisan women since the founding...

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6. Partisan Women, 1912–16

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pp. 142-172

No political party believed it could take women’s support for granted in 1912; neither could the parties completely ignore women. This was true not only at the national level but also at the state level and not only in suffragestates but also in nonsuffrage states. Like the Progressive party, or maybe because of that party’s overtures to women, the Republican and Democrat-...

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7. Claiming Victory, 1918–24

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pp. 173-196

Just after he lost his bid to recapture the White House in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter to the prominent British suffragist Millicent Garrett Fawcett indicating that, if he had won, Jane Addams might have been the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position. It was his intention, he wrote, “to put women in two or three places in my administration, with the ultimate...

Images [Image Plates]

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pp. 210-217


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pp. 197-246


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pp. 247-276


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pp. 277-309

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About the Author, Further Reading, Production Note

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pp. 289-313

melanie susan gustafson is an associate professor of history at the University of Vermont, where she teaches U.S. history and wom...

E-ISBN-13: 9780252093234
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252026881

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: Women in American History
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OCLC Number: 844940435
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924

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Subject Headings

  • Women -- Political activity -- United States -- History.
  • Women political activists -- United States -- History.
  • Women's rights -- United States -- History.
  • Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ).
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