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Fighting Chance: The Struggle Over Woman Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstruction Americaby Faye E. Dudden
Synopses & Reviews
The advocates of woman suffrage and black suffrage came to a bitter falling-out in the midst of Reconstruction, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 15th Amendment for granting black men the right to vote but not women. How did these two causes, so long allied, come to this? In a lively narrative of insider politics, betrayal, deception, and personal conflict, Fighting Chance offers fresh answers to this question and reveals that racism was not the only cause, but that the outcome also depended heavily on money and political maneuver. Historian Faye Dudden shows that Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, believing they had a fighting chance to win woman suffrage after the Civil War, tried but failed to exploit windows of political opportunity, especially in Kansas. When they became most desperate, they succeeded only in selling out their long-held commitment to black rights and their invaluable friendship and alliance with Frederick Douglass. Based on extensive research, Fighting Chance is a major contribution to women's history and to 19th-century political history.
"In a nitty-gritty account of the struggle for suffrage in the years before, during, and especially after the Civil War, Dudden charts the gradual splintering of the initially united feminist and abolitionist movements, transforming women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony from proponents of universal suffrage into partisans for women's voting rights alone, even opposing the 15th Amendment. Dudden, a history professor at Colgate University (Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America), addresses the ugly racism employed by some in the women's suffrage movement, in particular Stanton, in a late bid for support of racist Democrats. Dudden finds the split's roots in a bitter fight over priorities and over money. Abolitionist Wendell Phillips, who controlled vital funds slated for woman suffrage, declared it to be the 'Negro's hour' in 1865, and rejected Stanton and Anthony's arguments that the Reconstruction represented (in Henry Ward Beecher's words) the 'favored hour' for all. Without trying to justify Stanton and Anthony's racist tactics, Dudden explains how infighting and differences over the chance to gain universal suffrage crippled the women's suffrage movement, and drove its leaders to racist invective. Photos. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advocates of woman suffrage and black suffrage came to a bitter falling-out in the midst of Reconstruction, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 15th Amendment because it granted the vote to black men but not to women. How did these two causes, so long allied, come to this?
Based on extensive research, Fighting Chance is a major contribution to women's history and to 19th-century political history--a story of how idealists descended to racist betrayal and desperate failure.
About the Author
Faye E. Dudden is Professor of History at Colgate University.
Table of Contents
1. The Age is Ripe for the Woman Question
2. Black Rights, Woman's Rights, and Civil War
3. The "Negro's Hour"
4. The Struggle for Equal Rights
6. Revolutionary Journalism and Political Opportunism
7. The Fight Over the Fifteenth Amendment
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