Synopses & Reviews
The dawn of the twentieth century saw enormous changes throughout the United States, reflecting technological advances, population growth, widespread industrialization, and the establishment of a national market economy. In the Far West, these changes, combined with the rapid westward expansion of advanced capitalism and the impact of national political and economic pressures, brought with them a period of political conflict, social upheavals, and labor struggles. They also helped westerners define themselves, their values, and their relationship to the rest of the nation.
Seattle was one of the western cities that boomed during this period. By the end of the nineteenth century, the city was home to several powerful and influential labor organizations, as well as a vibrant middle-class feminist movement. In this turbulent interface of class, gender, politics, and sometimes race, residents struggled to cope with a changing social order and with differing and at times conflicting visions of what the West was supposed to be.
In this book, historian John C. Putman expands our understanding of the roles that gender and class played in the construction of progressive politics. He also shows how regional differences--in this case, the unique environment of the Pacific Northwest--contributed to Seattle’s economic and political development. The feminist and militant leftwing labor movements of progressive-era Seattle and the volatile interactions between them represent much more than colorful events in the city's early history. Here, cross-class reformist coalitions between labor, radical forces, and women were central to the way residents made sense of their changing environment and defined both the way they saw themselves and the way others perceived them. Class and Gender Politics in Progressive-Era Seattle is an essential contribution to our understanding of the creation of the modern West and the development of regional identity and self-awareness.
“Putman skillfully chronicles how labor and womens groups (representing both middle- and lower-income women) worked together to promote reform in Seattle before World War I. To my knowledge, there is no book set in the urban West that examines the political relationships between these groups and certainly none that does with the analytical prowess of Putmans.”<br> --Eugene P. Moehring, author of Urbanism and Empire in the Far West, 1840-1890<br> <br> “What this book has to offer, in contrast to the existent literature, is a study of Seattle, an important urban center where major labor conflicts of the early twentieth century occurred in a state that granted women suffrage early and in which womens organizations had important influence and power. John Putman places this study in the context of the expanding field of western history and connects his work to it by emphasizing ‘the New West as a focus for both historical development and scholarly attention. His analysis of a wide range of middle- and working-class organizations that were involved in the tumultuous politics of the age adds to the books significance.”<br> --Elizabeth V. Faue, author of Community of Suffering and Struggle: Women, Men, and the Labor Movement in Minneapolis, 1915-1945<br> <br>
This book traces the interplay of class, gender, and politics in progressive-era Seattle, Washington during the formative period of industrialization and the establishment of a national market economy. With the rapid westward expansion of the capitalist marketplace by the dawn of the 20th century, national political and economic pressures significantly transformed both city and region. Despite the region's vast natural resources, the West had a highly urbanized population, surpassing even that of the industrial Northeast. Westerners celebrated the region's wide-open spaces, and even though a large part of the West's economy was centered in the mines, fields, and forests, most chose to live in the city. Cities thus witnessed the intersection of class, gender, and political reform as residents struggled to <br>
About the Author
John Putman is an Associate Professor of History at San Diego State University. He is the author of two articles on class and gender politics in Seattle and he is currently working on a project that explores early twentieth-century Pacific Coast Expositions.<br> <br>