Synopses & Reviews
Debunking conventional wisdom that women had little impact on politics after gaining the vote, Kristi Andersen gives a compelling account of both the accomplishments and disappointments experienced by women in the decade after suffrage. This revisionist history traces how, despite male resistance to women's progress, the entrance of women and of their concerns into the public sphere transformed both the political system and women themselves.
Andersen shows how women's participation was based on a conception of women's citizenship as indirect and disinterested. Gaining the right to vote, campaign, and run for office transformed women's citizenship; at the same time, women's independent partisan stance, their focus on social welfare concerns, and their use of new political techniques such as lobbying all helped to redefine politics.
This fresh, nuanced analysis of women voters, activists, candidates, and officeholders will interest scholars in political science and women's studies.
"In this rich and engaging book, Kristi Anderson presents a convincing argument that woman suffrage deserves greater scrutiny as a social, cultural, and political force in the development of American electoral and party politics."and#8212;Jane Junn, Political Science Quarterly
"Anderson's innovation in this book is to change the dominant question asked about American women's suffrage. . . . This book offers a much-needed corrective to the conventional conception that the enfranchisement of women had no significant effect on American society."and#8212;Inderjeet Parmar, Political Studies
"Anderson's book is an excellent treatment . . . and a sterling example of the value of using multiple research methodsand#8212;also steeped within a deep understanding of context, culture, and historic trendsand#8212;to explain something as complicated and nuanced as the impact of women's votes after suffrage."and#8212;Laura R. Woliver, Journal of Politics
"Andersen seeks to dispel the myth that nothing important happened between women's suffrage and the revival of the women's rights movement in the 1970's. Indeed, she argues, the 1920's were important years for renegotiating the boundaries for men's and women's roles in the political sphere. Moreover, the involvement of women in partisan politics marked a transformation in ideas about gender and citizenship. Though women only appeared in small numbers as candidates and elected officials, their role in lobbying for moral issues redefined the political to include issues beyond parties and elections, and allowed it to include the female political culture. Even the presence of small numbers of female candidates and women's presence at the polling booths transformed the image of politics as exclusively masculine space. The 1920's were not so uneventful after all." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -183) and index.
Table of Contents
1. Suffrage and Political Change
2. Expanding Women's Citizenship in the 1920s
3. Women as Voters
4. Women in Party Politics
5. Women as Candidates and Officeholders
6. Women and Electoral Politics after Suffrage