The Women's Joint Congressional Committee and the Politics of Maternalism, 1920-30

The Women's Joint Congressional Committee and the Politics of Maternalism, 1920-30

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The rise and fall of a feminist reform powerhouse This is the first comprehensive history of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee (WJCC), a large umbrella organization founded by former suffrage leaders in 1920 in order to coordinate organized women's reform. Encompassing nearly every major national women's organization of its time, the WJCC evolved into a powerful lobbying force for the legislative agendas of twelve million women, and was recognized by critics and supporters alike as "the most powerful lobby in Washington." Through a close examination of the WJCC's most consequential and contentious campaigns, Jan Doolittle Wilson demonstrates organized women's strategies and initial success in generating congressional and grassroots support for their far-reaching, progressive reforms. By using the WJCC as a lens through which to analyze women's political culture during the 1920s, the book also sheds new light on the initially successful ways women lobbied for social legislation, the inherent limitations of that process for pursuing class-based reforms, and the enormous difficulties faced by women trying to expand public responsibility for social welfare in the years following the Nineteenth Amendment's passage. A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray Whiteshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.1 x 25.4mm | 521.64g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252031679
  • 9780252031670
  • 2,037,066

Review quote

"The arguments are clearly articulated and all of the evidence is properly marshaled. . . . Scholars interested in early twentieth-century women's political history will find a wealth of information."--Historian "Wilson's account of the forces arrayed to counter progressive women's organizations constitutes a deeply satisfying rebuttal to recent 'rational choice' models of electoral and organizational politics after women won the vote. Recommended."--Choice "A important addition to our understanding of how 'alliances and divisions among women coexisted and were continually renegotiated, contested, and reconstructed through changing historical and social circumstances'. We see the strength of political connections through the WJCC and the failings of that strength when society turned against any group with a hint of Communist or social leaning,"--Journal of American Historyshow more