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Becoming Citizens

The Emergence and Development of the California Women's Movement, 1880-1911


Publication Year: 2000

In 1880, the California woman safeguarded the Republic by maintaining a morally sound home. Scarcely forty years later, women in the Pacific state won full-fledged citizenship and voting rights of their own. Becoming Citizens shows how this enormous transformation came about. Gayle Gullett demonstrates how women's search for a larger public life in the late nineteenth century led to a flourishing women's movement in California. _x000B_Women's radical demand for citizenship, however, was rejected by state voters along with the presidential reform candidate, William Jennings Bryan, in the tumultuous election year of 1896. Gullett shows how women rebuilt the movement in the early years of the twentieth century and forged a critical alliance between activist women and the men involved in the urban Good Government movement. This alliance formed the basis of progressivism, with male Progressives helping to legitimize women's new public work by supporting their civic campaigns, appointing women to public office, and placing a suffrage referendum before the male electorate in 1911. _x000B_Placing local developments in a national context, Becoming Citizens illuminates the links between these two major social movements: the western women's suffrage movement and progressivism._x000B__x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Women in American History


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

This book has taken me a very long time to write. But I could not have written it at all without the support of many individuals, families, communities, and institutions. I am solely responsible for the mistakes, errors in judgment, and other failings, but everyone mentioned (and many more) helped make this book possible. ...

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pp. 1-10

When California became the sixth state to grant women the right to vote in 1911, suffragists believed it marked a turning point for the national women’s movement. For the first time women had become voters in a state with a city, San Francisco, that mirrored eastern cities in size and immigrant working-class population. ...

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1. The Politics of Women’s Work: Building the California Women’s Movement, 1880–93

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pp. 11-64

In the 1870s a few extraordinary pioneers for women’s rights entered California’s political arena, demanding women’s enfranchisement. They based their demand on a fundamental principle: fathers and husbands should not vote for women; women must speak for themselves. ...

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2. The Politics of Politics: The California Women’s Movement Emerges and Campaigns for Women’s Suffrage, 1893–96

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pp. 65-106

From all parts of the country activists of the late nineteenth-century women’s movement—club women, temperance advocates, settlement workers, philanthropists, labor activists, and suffragists—went to Chicago in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition, one of the great international expositions of the era. ...

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3. The Politics of Altruism: Rebuilding the California Women’s Movement,1897–1905

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pp. 107-150

For several years the 1896 suffrage defeat in California devastated the state’s su√rage movement. Suffrage organizations lost so many members that they were maintained by skeleton crews of stalwart souls. Other women’s groups were only minimally involved in public affairs. ...

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4. The Politics of Good Government: The California Women’s Movement Helps Build Progressivism and Wins Suffrage, 1906–11

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pp. 151-200

After 1906 afflluent men and women reformers began working together as political allies in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Earlier, the women had persuaded men to support their various urban reform projects, such as juvenile courts and playgrounds, but both men and women saw these as civic— not political—efforts. ...

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Epilogue: The Politics of Women’s Citizenship

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pp. 201-206

California women pursued citizenship to make themselves powerful. As they struggled to make their voices heard in the public arena, they changed their lives and created new definitions of the appropriate relationship between women and power. They created these new understandings by borrowing from older notions of gender, power, and politics. ...


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pp. 207-262


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pp. 263-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780252093319
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252068188

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: Women in American History
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OCLC Number: 846496148
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Becoming Citizens

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Subject Headings

  • Feminism -- California -- History.
  • Women -- Political activity -- California -- History.
  • Women -- Suffrage -- California -- History.
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