Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924

Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924

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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. 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."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, and Mary Church Terrell) and less well known (Anna Dickinson, Victoria Woodhull, Judith Ellen Foster, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary).
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Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 155.4 x 232.4 x 25.7mm | 653.18g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252026888
  • 9780252026881

Review quote

"Bringing to her study not only a sophisticated appreciation of the women whose lives she records, but also a deep understanding of the US political system as it evolved during the period, Gustafson contributes to both gender and political studies. Her well-written monograph, heavily based on primary sources, is strongly recommended." -- Choice "Gustafson successfully confronts the historical complexity of American women's partisanship... Her work deepens and enriches the field of women's political history." -- Linda Van Ingen, H-Women, H-Net Reviews "Gustafson traces the political participation of women in the Republican Party from its inception in 1854 through the first elections after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment... Not only do readers learn about women formerly invisible, but Gustsafson shows more-famous women in a new light -- women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Church Terrell, or Jane Addams." -- Margaret M. Caffrey, History "Gustafson convincingly demonstrates that women's partisan activism has a long history antedating the achievement of suffrage... She provides insights into how women confronted the obstacles to full political participation... A welcome book, illuminating women's partisan roles and eliminating any impression that women were not involved in electoral politics before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment." -- Peter H. Argersinger, Journal of Illinois History "This well-written and informative volume should prove useful to anyone studying women and the political process." -- Jo Ann Williford, North Carolina Historical Review "Gustafson... forces us to think both broadly and concretely about how women develop political identities and strategies. Researchers will turn to her book for years to come." American Historical Review ADVANCE PRAISE "This is an invaluable study of nonvoting women's partisan activities, which should eliminate the notion that no women entered electoral politics before 1920. It is wide-ranging and unprecedentedly thorough and includes points of conflict between women's efforts on behalf of the Republican party and their identification with nonpartisan causes (such as the suffrage movement itself). Gustafson's treatment of the Bull Moose Progressives is especially fascinating." -- Nancy Cott, author of Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation "This skillfully written and insightful narrative traces the roots of women's participation in the Republican party to such radical and progressive reformers as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Anna Dickinson, Mary Church Terrell, Jane Addams, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary. This is a must read for historians and others interested in women's influence on party politics before and immediately following suffrage." -- Harriet Hyman Alonso, author of Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights "Melanie Gustafson's Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924 is a book of great significance. Gustafson makes it clear that for many years before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment women were actively seeking a stronger role in political parties while seeking the parties' support for expansion of women's political power. Grounded in extensive research and written in an accessible style, the book will appeal not only to students of women's political culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but to anyone interested in the gender politics of today." -- Marjorie Julian Spruill, author of One Woman One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement
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