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Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Citizen, Louise W. Knight's masterful biography, reveals Addams's early development as a political activist and social philosopher.  In this book we observe a powerful mind grappling with the radical ideas of her age, most notably the ever-changing meanings of democracy.

Citizen covers the first half of Addams's life, from 1860 to 1899. Knight recounts how Addams, a child of a wealthy family in rural northern Illinois, longed for a life of larger purpose. She broadened her horizons through education, reading, and travel, and, after receiving an inheritance upon her father's death, moved to Chicago in 1889 to co-found Hull House, the city's first settlement house. Citizen shows vividly what the settlement house actually was—a neighborhood center for education and social gatherings—and describes how Addams learned of the abject working conditions in American factories, the unchecked power wielded by employers, the impact of corrupt local politics on city services, and the intolerable limits placed on women by their lack of voting rights. These experiences, Knight makes clear, transformed Addams. Always a believer in democracy as an abstraction, Addams came to understand that this national ideal was also a life philosophy and a mandate for civic activism by all.

As her story unfolds, Knight astutely captures the enigmatic Addams's compassionate personality as well as her flawed human side. Written in a strong narrative voice, Citizen is an insightful portrait of the formative years of a great American leader.

“Knights decision to focus on Addamss early years is a stroke of genius. We know a great deal about Jane Addams the public figure. We know relatively little about how she made the transition from the 19th century to the 20th. In Knights book, Jane Addams comes to life. . . . Citizen is written neither to make money nor to gain academic tenure; it is a gift, meant to enlighten and improve. Jane Addams would have understood.”—Alan Wolfe, New York Times Book Review

“My only complaint about the book is that there wasnt more of it. . . .  Knight honors Addams as an American original.”—Kathleen Dalton, Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Louise W. Knight is an independent scholar who has taught rhetoric at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Part I: The Given Life, 1860-88

One: Self-Reliance, 1822-60

Two: Three Mothers, 1860-73

Three: Dreams, 1873-77

Four: Ambition, 1877-81

Five: Failure, 1881-83

Six: Culture, 1883-86

Seven: Crisis, 1886-88

Part II: The Chosen Life, 1889-99

Eight: Chicago, 1889

Nine: Halsted Street, 1889-91

Ten: Fellowship, 1892

Eleven: Baptism, 1893

Twelve: Cooperation, 1893-94

Thirteen: Claims, 1894

Fourteen: Justice, 1895

Fifteen: Democracy, 1896-98

Sixteen: Ethics, 1898-99

Afterword: Scholarship and Jane Addams

List of Abbreviations




Product Details

Knight, Louise W.
University of Chicago Press
Historical - U.S.
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Social workers
Social reformers
Social reformers -- United States.
Social workers -- United States.
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
45 halftones
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Political
Biography » Women
Business » Human Resource Management
Business » Management
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » 1800 to 1920
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General

Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy New Hardcover
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Product details 598 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226446998 Reviews:
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