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Other titles in the Young Oxford History of Women in the United States series:
Young Oxford History of Women in the United States #5: An Unfinished Battle: American Women 1848-1865
Synopses & Reviews
The year 1848 was a year of revolution. In Europe, the German philosopher of communism Karl Marx published The Communist Manifesto, the British philosopher of liberalism John Stuart Mill published The Principles of Political Economy, and a small number of communitarian socialist women in France demanded their own political rights in the midst of an uprising that overthrew the French monarchy. In the United States, several determined women in upstate New York called a convention, attended by almost three hundred women and men, which drew up a declaration modeled on the 1776 Declaration of Independence. Just as that Declaration cited the injustice of the British crown, the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls detailed the wrongs of gender inequality in this country. The convention and the Declaration marked the formal beginning of the women's rights movement in the United States.
The tumultuous middle years of the 19th century were times of increasing political activism by women's groups, and both antislavery agitators and supporters of slavery. These years also saw the geographical expansion of white settlement across the continent. Formerly Spanish and Mexican territory was annexed, gold was discovered in California, cities and industries grew in the Northeast, and "king cotton" and the grip of racial slavery extended from the deep South to the near Southwest. It was a time of momentous change and upheaval as sectional interest became so bitterly incompatible that it led to the catastrophe of Civil War.
How women participated in these events forms the story of this book. The voices of women--pioneers and displaced Native Americans, slaves and slaveholders, industrial wage earners and the wives and daughters of capitalist entrepreneurs, political radicals and demure conservatives, women who served the Union and those who aided the Confederacy--resonate through these pages. Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton--their stories and others tell of the setbacks and the triumphs as women continued to fight An Unfinished Battle for equal rights for all.
1848 was a year of revolution. In the United States, several determined women in upstate New York drafted a declaration of rights modeled on the 1776 Declaration of Independence and held a convention, which was attended by almost 300 women and men. The Seneca Falls Convention, writes Harriet Sigerman, launched the formal women's rights movement in the United States. It was one of many historical events in which American women left their mark in the years between 1848 and 1865. This period also witnessed the expansion of the nation's boundaries and new settlements out West, the conflagration of the Civil War, and the nation's emergence as an industrial power. American women played a vital role in all of these events, as homesteaders, factory workers, nurses, physicians, army scouts and spies, and social reformers. Among the women featured in this volume are Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, the chief architects of the organized women's rights movement; Sojourner Truth, a powerful African-American orator who spoke for women's rights; Clara Barton, the dedicated Civil War nurse; and Harriet Tubman, a former slave who returned to the South more than 300 times to help free other slaves. Their stories and others tell of the setbacks and triumphs as women continued to fight for equal rights for all.
About the Author
Harriet Sigerman is the author of Laborers for Liberty: American Women 1865-1890 and Land of Many Hands: Women in the American West. She holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was a researcher there for the Stanton Anthony Papers. She lives in New Jersey.
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