Synopses & Reviews
Strenuously attacked for their attempts to involve themselves in concerns outside the home, nineteenth-century women reformers soon recognized the need to work for their own rights before they could effectively champion other reformist causes. This book examines the creative response to that challenge. It offers critical analysis of the speeches and writings that set forth the platform and arguments of the early woman's rights movement and guided its development from the 1840s through the early decades of the twentieth century.
Following an introductory overview of the movement, Campbell examines the rhetoric of leading female abolitionists whose initial struggle revolved around achieving the right to speak in public. She next looks at their response to opposition based on theology and the universal moral standard the reformers proposed. The author describes the rhetoric of the various woman's rights conventions and how movement leaders adapted their appeals to male legislators. Conflicts between social and natural rights feminists and between white and Afro-American women are considered, and the rhetorical positions that came together to achieve suffrage are analyzed. In her final chapter, Campbell comments on the rhetoric of the National Woman's Party and the demise of the woman's rights movement in the 1920s. A stimulating analysis of the rhetorical contributions of the best-known and most effective of America's early female reformers, this work, together with its companion volume, should be considered for courses on American public address, women's rhetoric, social movements, and U.S. women's history.
The right to cast a ballot from a feminine hand occupied the attention and efforts of hundreds of women for more than a century in the U.S. In these two volumes Campbell (University of Minnesota) provides a basic understanding of two processes: the development of the rhetoric used by the women who argued for equal rights, and the constraints and sanctions applied to those women who affronted the norms of society's expectation that true women were seldom seen and never spoke in public. The first volume lays the foundation for the analysis of rhetorical style and content by its fine introduction and by a succession of chapters organized chronologically, with biographical sketches and excerpts from speeches. It includes a chapter specifically addressed to issues of sex, race, and class faced by African American women. Volume 2 is not a continuation of the first, but contains the texts on which the first volume is based. The biographical and historical sections are gracefully written and well organized, but the greatest value of the set lies in the actual words of the feminist leaders and Campbell's skillfull analyses. Every women's studies program must have this available. Upper-division undergraduates and above. Choice
Laura Kaplan Shanley is dedicated to the belief that autonomous, unassisted birth is a concept whose time has come and should be re-introduced into human society as the ideal form of safe, joyous, and healthy childbirth.