tv Lectures in History Women in the Late-19th Century CSPAN October 4, 2020 12:10pm-1:21pm EDT
day in history clips and posts. >> next, boston college professor heather cox richardson teaches a class on the new roles women assumed in the workforce and in politics during the late 19th century. she describes gains women made in fields like nursing, teaching and social work. she also discusses the growth of political organizations run by women that focused on issues like prohibition and women's suffrage. prof. richardson: let's go ahead and start. as you know the theme of this course comes from the idea that the civil war dramatically changes american history because what it really does is it destroys everything everybody believed about the relationship between america and the american government. once the war is over, today's the anniversary of the firing on fort sumter, everybody has different ideas about what the nation is supposed to become. we have gone through that with the idea that african-american men who had fought for the union had some ideas of what america should be, and certainly white southerners had in idea about
what america should be. the northerners who won had an idea of what america should be. the indians and the chinese at -- out west had ideas about what america should be and certainly the northern men who had won the war had ideas about what the country should be. the critical question as to what it was going to be was who was going to have a say in it. we have gone to that as well, but who had a say in what that new nation was going to be was going to have a dramatic affect on what it eventually became. today i want to talk about women and women's lives in the late 19th century and their role in what was really the reconstruction, the true rebuilding of the north, south, and the west into a new nation in the wake of the civil war. the story of women is more crucial to that story than most people realize. most people when they think about women's rights in america start here and you probably know about this from high school, the seneca falls convention of 1848
when a number of women came together. women and men as well came together to talk about women's rights and the idea of rights for women came out of the abolitionist movement in 1840 when a number of female abolitionists went to london for the first world antislavery convention. while they were there to speak about human rights, those women were not allowed to speak. they had to sit in the gallery and they were not allowed to talk. on the way home, a number of them get talking and say this is not right, that it really people are supposed to be free and equal, women should have rights as well. out of that comes the organization of the seneca falls convention in 1848. this is the group of people who issued the declaration of sentiments which is based on the declaration of independence, but calls for rights for women and tries to fight back against what they consider the oppression of men.
you all learned about this and everybody talks about this being the beginning of women's rights in america. it is, it is a symbolic moment, but after the seneca falls convention, nothing happens. this happens in new york, new york has got a lot of other things going on. they are fighting a battle over property rights, there is a lot of things going on in the east especially in the northeast in the 1840's and 50's and one person looks at the seneca falls convention and says it is almost as if we are talking about martians voting and having rights. it is not on people's radar screens at a national level and not a lot changes after the declaration of sentiments. the real change for women and for women's rights comes not out of the declaration of sentiments in 1848, but rather out of the american civil war. we have talked to some in this
class about that, women's roles changed during the civil war dramatically. they go into the war both in the north and south believing they are going to be able to maintain the roles they had before the civil war. that breaks down almost immediately. they start with the idea that they will be helping, and very quickly, women have to take over a whole new set of roles during the civil war. first of all, they begin by supporting the troops both in the north and the south. especially in the north, that quickly becomes taking on a very public roles. women often had public roles before because of the abolitionist movement and because of politics, but during the civil war, the roles of women take on new dimensions.
we have for example, women working in of the new government jobs. when i talked about the creation of american money, somebody actually physically had to take those large plates of paper and cut them into bills. those were women, those were government girls who did the cutting. if you look at these now and sometimes you see them in museums, if you look at the edges, you can tell when the women were cutting them because by the end of the day they got tired and the edges are not straight. if you collect them, you want the ones with the straight edges. women are working in the government, working as clerks, in the northern fields they are taking over for the men who have gone to war. they are working in factories in both the north and the south, and they begin to do a number of things that are not usually a part of women's roles. we have women getting involved in nursing, which had always been considered a dirty, male profession. you get women involved in nursing and this is when nursing becomes a female rather than a male profession. as men go off to war you get women involved in teaching which
had always been a male profession, becomes a pink collar profession because the women are the ones who are there to do the teaching. you have women when they are nursing going into spaces where they had been excluded. you did not used to want your daughters to be in a hospital, which is dirty and full of men in various stages of undress who are messy. they are dying or they are bleeding, these are spaces women begin to enter. you also have women buying bonds that i talked about. for the first time in american history, women literally own a piece of the american government. they are buying bonds on which the government and the military depends. and of course they are sending their sons and husbands off to fight this war. women have invested heavily in the u.s. government. they are part of the u.s. government, they have supported
it with their money, they have supported it with their lives, they have supported it with their sons, supported it with their efforts, and some of them quite literally put their lives on the line for the u.s. government. we had civil war spies and we have even a few women fighting as civil war soldiers. there is a great story about that, a woman who is discovered many years later when she applies for a pension and is able to prove that she fought during the civil war. there are not many of them, but they are a great story. you have women in the north coming out of this war believing that they should have a say in that government. they gave everything for that government. they feel like they should have a say in what happens. certainly, more of a say than those white southerners that andrew johnson was pardoning at such an extraordinary rate ring -- rate during the summer of 1865 so that by the fall of 1865, all but about 1500 of the former confederates have received residential pardons.
they look at that and say wait a minute, how come these guys who picked up guns and tried to destroy the u.s. government have a say and we don't? you are going to see a similar pattern after world war ii when you get the second wave of women's activism out of world war ii out of a similar set of circumstances. so what happens is coming out of the war, women expect they are going to have a say in this new reconstructed government and that of course, is not what happens. what happens is coming out of the war, the focus is on african-american male suffrage. especially women suffragists look at this and they are willing to let that happen, but they also expected that they are
going to be included as well. you hear more from me about julia ward, who put it this way, she said when we are writing that 14th amendment, women should be included. if we are talking about citizenship and having a say in american society, women belong in that. they should have rights under that amendment. and of course, when congress is discussing the 14th amendment at great length, some congressmen actually do introduce the idea that women should be included in the 14th amendment and that women should be considered full citizens. and they are laughed out. the idea that women should have rights and be able to participate in society is a nonstarter in 1868. this to suffragists, especially those who have worked so hard for the war, just really stung. julia ward howe said that civil war came to an end leaving the slave not only emancipated but endowed with citizenship. the women of the north had
greatly helped open the door which admitted him to freedom and its safeguard, the ballot. was this door to be shut in their face? in 1868, when the door was shut in their face, two really dramatic things happened. two suffrage associations formed in america. most of you know that these organizations joined in 1890 and most people who look at the advance of women's suffrage across the country really look at that 1890 merger as being crucial. and yet, these things come out of the 14th amendment. they come out of the idea that if african-american men and should be included in american citizenship, so should women. so should white women is the people that if these women are primarily concerned with. women should have a say in american society.
first the national women's suffrage association forms and these are women like elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony who were very active in the abolitionist movement and they tend to be more radical. they want a wide number of reforms for american women, they are going to level the playing field between men and women with property ownership, divorce laws, the different economic inequalities between the sexes. they are seen as radicals. three months later, you get to the organization of the american women's suffrage association and that is a much more moderate group. it is interesting for my purposes today because it is formed primarily by lucy stone and julia ward howe. they demanded only the vote with the idea that once you get the vote, you have a say in
government and can change the laws if you do not like the laws. this is always a part where i want to talk about julia ward howe. julia ward howe is the same woman who wrote the battle hymn of the republic in 1862, i have talked about her before, she begins to take on a much more public role during the civil war, especially through her writing. she is a brilliant thinker, her diaries are at harvard. she is -- she becomes involved in the american woman suffrage association because she really wants the vote. she is a much more moderate character than say elizabeth that elizabeth cady stanton. she wants the vote for this reason, her husband is abusive. every time she wants to leave him, he says great, go, you will never see your kids again. because in this era, children are the property of their
fathers. if women divorce their husbands, they can be kept from their kids. she stays married and tries to continue to have access to the kids. the great part of this story is he is really awful to her, i read through her diaries, he is really awful to her and keeps trying to get her to destroy the diaries. he keeps telling her she is stupid and nobody is going to listen to her, she doesn't matter, and that he is really the shining light in the couple because he is a very famous reformer. i always try to make a point to talk about her in this situation because i want you all to leave this room and for the rest of your lives to remember that julia ward howe is an incredibly important thinker, writer, you're going to hear more about her in a minute, and she is married to some jerk nobody remembers. that is my part for her. what happens after the organization of these two suffrage groups to try and push for women to have a say in american society?
this is the era right after the civil war when legislators are trying to create a world in which equal rights really is the underpinning of the american government. this is a period when people are talking about everybody having equal rights, everybody should have a say in american society and they are trying to expand that with the 14th amendment, which theoretically includes everybody except indians not taxed. that is an important caveat, important exception. out west, unlike where seneca falls took place, out west in the organization of those territories that i talked about that come in the west so quickly, the idea of women's suffrage takes off. in 1869, in wyoming territory, they give women the vote when they put together their constitution.
there are very few women in wyoming territory, i promise you. but it gives women the vote with the idea that in these new western territories, women should have the right to have a say in the construction of that society. it takes off. the next year, in 1870, utah gives women the vote. it is about 1000 women in wyoming, there are about 17,000 in utah. they give women the vote in utah in 1870 because there is a referendum coming up on whether or not polygamy should be included in the state laws. the expectation of the legislators who include the women is that women will vote against polygamy. that by opening up the vote, you were going to move society forward and of course women will vote against polygamy. women go to the polls in wyoming -- in utah and they vote in favor of polygamy. that stops the spread of women's suffrage across the west dead
for years and years. the idea that somehow expanding the vote is going to create a better society hits real trouble when it hits utah and women vote in a way that most of the people who gave them the vote thought that they would not. this is going to change the idea of women's suffrage spreading state-by-state, especially through the west, in the early 1870's. still, if you look at that date, women have hope because in 1870, congress is going to be debating a new constitutional amendment to protect african-american voting in the south and that is the 15th amendment. you know about the 15th amendment, the one that protects voting. women lobby hard to be included in the 15th amendment. when congress passes and then the states ratify that amendment in 1870, women are not included.
when they are not included, suffragists are furious. they do something very smart, they decide that what they are going to do is not to try and lobby any longer for women's suffrage specifically. what they are going to do is they are going to argue that they are citizens under the 14th amendment because of course they have either been born in america or naturalized in america. women decide in the presidential election, the tight presidential election of 1872, women decided they are going to test their rights to vote under the 14th amendment. across the country in 1872, suffragists try to vote. they try to register to vote, what that means is they will go to a registrar and have their names enrolled and be able to cast a ballot or not.
in 1872 across the country they try and do that and some of them succeed. others do not. there is a really important court case i want you to remember -- it starts in missouri. as you remember, missouri is a mess of a state because it was so evenly divided between confederates and unionists and they have got the 1865 constitution that prohibits democrats from voting, being lawyers, being doctors, all those things. so who gets to vote and how the government is going to work in missouri is really a crucial spot in the country. in 1872, a woman named virginia minor tries to register to vote under the idea that she should be able to vote under the 14th amendment. she goes to the registrar and the guy at the register is a guy named happerset. she tries to register to vote. he refuses to let her register, and she sues him. the case minor versus happerset
is going to be decided by the supreme court in 1875. i will tell you about that in a minute. the one you have heard about in this year, in the year of 1872, is that susan b. anthony does register to vote. she registers to vote in new york and she actually casts a ballot in that election. after she casts a ballot, she is arrested for the crime of voting. that is an interesting concept to get your head around, the crime of voting. the argument about it being a crime to vote -- interestingly enough, they get her under the enforcement act that were put in place to protect african-american voting in the south. the crime of voting, the argument behind that is that if people who should not have a right to have a say in american society vote, they are diluting the votes of those who do have a right to vote.
by the time she is arrested in 1872, susan b. anthony is a very well-known figure. this is a very public case and she is very public about it. after she is arrested and then let out on bail, there is a story behind that, after that happens she goes around her region of new york giving a number of speeches about the fact she has been arrested for the crime of voting. in the trial, the trial adds fuel to the fire because in the trial, what happens is susan b. anthony is the only woman in the courtroom. she is not allowed to testify on her own behalf because she is a woman, and after her lawyer and the prosecuting attorney present their cases, the judge simply
reads the decision he had already written before the trial and, in a wonderful moment, she watches this happen and she gets up and answers him and she will not shut up. he says you need to sit down, you need to stop, she says no, i'm not going to. she tells him exactly what she thinks of him. it has become such a powerful cause as she is giving the speeches about what happened that it becomes sort of a flashpoint where people look at the question of who should have a say in american society. one of the things that anthony says as she speaks across new york is this, she is so mad at what happened, she says this government is not a republic. it is an odious aristocracy, a hateful oligarchy of sex. now, this often is mis-punctuated when you see it
in other places. so pay attention to how this is punctuated, she says, " an oligarchy of wealth where the rich govern the poor. an oligarchy of learning where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race where the sachsen rules the african might be adored. " she is actually ok with the idea of rich people governing the poor, educated people governing the uneducated, even white people governing black people, but this oligarchy of sex carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home in the nation. this should sound really familiar because this is 1872, when many people, especially in the north, are turning against the idea of laborers having a say in american society. what you are seeing is once again the switch from the idea that everybody should have a say in american society to the idea that is developing in 1870's and
talked about some in the 1880's that in fact, maybe not everybody should have a say in american society. the question after the 1870's is where do you draw the boundaries and how do you draw the boundaries? women's role in this is going to be crucial to drawing the boundaries. all right so what happens? in 1875, congress -- i'm sorry, the supreme court hands down a decision. when you read that for this week, read my version of it because it is a very long, kind of boring decision until the very end of it. they go through everything they can think of that women have done in american history and they say the question at hand is are women citizens? they say they did this and this and this, and yes of course they are citizens. but then there is a kicker at the end of it. the kicker at the end is they
say, of course women are citizens, but citizenship does not necessarily convey the right to vote. this is a really big deal because with this decision, the supreme court unhinges citizenship and voting. remember, this is reconstruction. this is 1875, and in 1876 you are going to have a tax on a black voting across the south of that returns the southern states to the control of white democrats. the idea of women voting is intimately connected to the question of who should have a say in american society. who is a good member of society and who should have a right to participate in the construction of that new nation and the government that rules that nation? meanwhile, if this is the philosophical argument about who
should have a say in american society, women are not sitting home eating bonbons waiting for this to play out. because with the loss of so many men during the civil war and the dramatic change in the economy we have talked about, the rise of industry, the women in factories, the changing agriculture, the push west, the rise of cities. women's roles changed dramatically in the 19th century at the very moment when you have got men moving to the cities and moving out west and dying in huge numbers as well as coming back to their homes from the war, crippled. either in body or in mind. those things open up entire new realms of opportunity for women both in the north end of the south. african-american women and white women as well as immigrant women. i've talked before about edmonia
lewis, but she is a great example of somebody for whom the late 19th century, especially the postwar years, opens up a lot of doors. she is a woman who i mentioned before shows up in the chicago exposition of 1893. edmonia lewis is one of our most famous american sculptors. she was educated at oberlin college at the time. she is african-american and indian and especially after the civil war became a symbol of human rights. the idea that this extraordinarily talented woman happened to come in an african-american and indian skin people seemed , unimportant compared to her talent. not to everybody, but because she is so visible, because she is so popular, she becomes a symbol of what women can do, what all women can do. she gets a lot of her training actually in rome because the prejudices are not as strong as
they are in america. she gets a lot more opportunity there and training there, becomes very famous in rome. by 1873, when i say she is a well-known sculptor, as you know, when agriculturists or farmers in this period made a dollar a day ballpark, not a lot of money. good living, $300-$500 a year. in 1873, she had two commissions. those two commissions were worth $50,000 each. uh-huh. in 1877, she was the sculptor ulysses s grant chose to make his bust and he was very pleased with what she had done. she is very well known in opening up the door to women in the arts. one of the things she does is thispts --his is he
-- she sheha puts a neoclassical look on americans, especially american women, especially american women of color. her minnehaha is very famous, but perhaps even more famous is this statue of 1867 called forever free. she is doing a lot, you can see her main character standing has chains on, the chains are broken, but they are not off, which is interesting. for our purposes today, one of the things that is more interesting is that the man in this sculpture is unclothed, but the woman is clothed which is a real reversal of the idea of african-american women as being somehow objects that are not bounded.
she is dressed, she is taking part in society in a way that he, without clothes, is doing less of. the idea that she can carry herself forward in modern american society even though he is bigger and more powerful and even though she is at his feet, there is a lot going on in that statue. you are looking at this and thinking i've never heard of her in my life was complete without hearing about her but it wasn't. she is only one of the woman in the late 19th century who dramatically changed american culture after the civil war. she is a sculptor, but here's a woman i would lay money that you have never heard of. her name is augusta jane evans. she is a southern novelist after the civil war and she is the first female american author to earn more than $100,000. she is -- she precedes edith wharton, but the reason she is important and the reason i bring her up is because i have talked a lot about the north so far today. southern women are in an
especially pinched spot, if you will. they are from a region of the country that has lost the civil war and is devastated. economically and psychologically as well and the men, especially the white men returning home, are often unable to assume positions in society again. you have a bunch of women who are financially dependent, they have to find some way to make money, and they know they are living through a dramatic time in america, and they are talented and educated. coming out of the civil war you have a huge number of female writers. north and south, but primarily in the south. what they write are things that now don't make it across our radar screen often, but she is famous as a romance novelist. the southern women especially worked out a lot of the tensions between the north and the south
through romance novels and through the explorations you could do with romance novels of boundaries, of gender, of economics, of race. a whole lot of these things, and they are really, really interesting. you could see the ideas that got picked up when we read "the virginian." it's about the west mostly, but he is definitely tying into the incredible popularity of post civil war romance novel. s. but this lady may be more familiar to you. this is louisa may alcott. her 1868 novel "little women" was the best seller that year. it sold 35,000 copies in its first year. she really pioneers the way for northern female writers. she actually did not like
writing these books, but they had become enormously popular. one of the reasons they become popular because her "little women" of 1868 explores a bunch of new roles for women. how many of you have read that book? there are four girls in "little women," and only one of them is a traditional stay-at-home pre-civil war girl, and that is beth. beth finally dies of some unspecified illness, dropping mittens out the window. i am making a little fun, but she is kind of a homebody, she does not like to leave the house. the other sisters are all modern women, if you will. meg is a governess who works for a living. does not always like it but works for a living. jo is a writer and wants to go out and write the great american novel. amy is a sculptor.
all three of them are fairly successful in those professions, but crucially, all three of them end up settling down, getting married, and having children. that is going to be important for the way women reintegrate new, reconstructed society. so you have southern writers, northern writers -- by the way, louisa may alcott, we found out 20 years ago now that she also wrote real potboiler stories, which she denigrates in "little women." they paid better and she preferred them. she wrote a short story called "mask" about women hiding themselves. interesting stuff. people are not just reading about women, they are watching them. this is anna dickenson. she is so well-known as a speaker. she is the first american woman to address congress, 1864. very, very well-known, very
highly paid, eloquent speaker. she speaks across the country at lectures, where she introduces topics and tells people about subjects they otherwise did not know about. so now not only are women taking part in the arts, showing their work, they are actually, physically, in public informing people. they are taking a public roles after the civil war in a way that they did before the civil war. so they are really visible. they are using that visibility to influence american life. here is julia ward howe again. i told you she would come back again today. julia ward howe focused on her position as a mother, which is driving her support for the suffrage. her position as a mother, to say that women are different than men, that women can do society
better than men have done, and what sets her off is not only does she live through the civil war and watched the incredible carnage of the war -- remember she is in washington at the end of and watching the circling 1861 fires around washington, seeing one of her friends, one of the first people killed in the war. after the franco-prussian war, which was an incredibly bloody war, she decided enough was enough and that women had to take over world society. she said in her reminisce, after the franco-prussian war i was visited by the sudden feeling of the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. it seemed to me a return to barbarism. the issue having been one that might easily have been settled without bloodshed. the question forces itself upon me -- why don't the mothers of mankind interfere to prevent the waste of human life, of which they alone know and bear the cost?
so what she does is she issues an appeal to womanhood throughout the world. she writes to women throughout the world, but it's women she has contact with in other countries. she says, we need to stop war. she makes this declaration that says, we will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. our husbands shall not come to us wreaking with carnage for caresses and applause. our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. we, women of one country, will be too tender of those to another country to allow our trained to injure
theirs. so this is the idea that women can take on even something like war and stop war if they are willing to exercise their roles as women, and it's women in politics. while we are on this, this, the idea of joining women together and meeting -- cameron knows where this is going -- becomes mother's days. where mothers, plural, come together to stop war. if you google mother's day, it was started by anna jarvis in 1908. that's wrong. she starts it because she remembered her mother going to these mothers days. this was her attempt to turn it into a day, personally, for her mother. but the idea of mother's day thesestraight out of post-civil war period with the
idea that women, as mothers, could clean up world politics. isn't that cool? this is where we get mother's day. but this idea of women taking a role, and taking a role because they are different, starts really to take off in the 1870's. so in the 1860's, right up to through 1870, you get the idea that women should have rights as all humans should have rights. but she gets the growth of this idea that women should have rights because they are different. because women have a perspective that they are going to be able to do things like stop war and stop the dangerous aspects of industrialization. so in 1874 we get the creation of the women's christian temperance union the wctu. , instantly they became politically involved. they organized under annie whitmire.
they become politically active because what they are trying to do is stop excessive drinking and promote temperance. many cities have -- theoretically saloons are being regulated, but they are really not, and they are intimately involved in the political system. the wctu begins to do things like pour liquor into the sewers. it's not a sewer, it will be a later picture because sewers don't take off until the 1880's. but they are actively trying to clean up the cities by getting rid of alcohol. the wctu becomes incredibly powerful. i will talk in a second about the constitutional convention of idaho in 1889, and when the guys are trying to organize the constitution, within days, they are still basically figuring out who is supposed to sit in what seat, the first people to the door of the wctu. they are saying we cannot have alcohol.
they are there before anybody else shows up. that's the first thing that goes up under the agenda because the wctu is very powerful and popular. women are not only taking roles in society in atomized ways. because women have entered the teaching profession and because women have entered because, as i talked about we have the rise of , middle managers who have extra money and leisure time, you have concepts coming that women need education. what i want to talk about is the rise of women's colleges because women's colleges are going to be crucial for the late 19th century. while women have had seminaries, thisducations before period, people point to the organization of smith college in 1875 as a landmark of the education of women.
radcliffe, the radcliffe annex as it is known, will organize in 1879. radcliffe is going to be different from smith because it actually borrows professors from harvard. what these colleges are doing is setting up -- they are recognizing women have brains. there is a twist because they have to overcome the idea that women are weak vessels that will be injured by the applications of their brains and they will be stoop shouldered, spectacled bespectacled people who cannot do a hard days work. so the same time that women's colleges are aggressive about teaching, many of the curriculum that men have, women also have to take physical education classes. they have to walk, they have to have the womanly graces. some have courses and setting
in setting table, having tea and knowing where different dishes go so that women will not be educated out of their sphere. they will be able to be good wives and mothers even though they can read greek. it is a funny hybrid. if anybody is interested in this, one of the things that comes out of the rise of the college movement that i think is fascinating, and you can see it in the louisa may alcott books, there is a whole series of novels from the 1870's that write novels about women's colleges. "thet the series called betty wales" series where it's set in a women's college. some of you may have read daddy long legs. it's set in the 20th century. there is this famous fred astaire movie but it misses the point of it being a women's college. there is a series of women who take on this idea and women read it avidly. you see this in the louisa may
alcott books when jo and her husband professor baer start a women's college. there is a wonderful scene in which the women eventually become a coed college. the men and women sit on a staircase and discuss the uses of women's education. if anybody is interested, that is there. while women are learning these things, and these tend to be middle-class women whose families have the time to send them to school, what is really crucial about these things is they are going to create a body of educated, intelligent, connective women. women begin to form social networks in these colleges, the same way i say to you that your networks from school are going to matter in your lives. women coming through these colleges are going to have friends. they are going to have friends that took classes with, they have friends they have stayed up late talking about social issues with and these networks are
, going to have a huge effect on the rest of american society, both in terms of what they do, but also in the way they think about what they do. one of the people who is crucial in this is this woman, jane addams. it's worth mentioning that by 1870, so many women are getting involved in education that by 1870, the majority of people graduating from high school in america are women. that early, women are the majority of high school graduates. only about 2% of americans go to college in that year, but women are 21% of the group. that is not just a few people. jane addams is from illinois. her father had worked with abraham lincoln. she was always famous in her life for those eyes. there were blue. you are supposed to sink into those eyes. i will show you a picture of her
later. pretty much anybody who saw jane addams commented on her eyes. jane addams did a tour of europe when she was a young woman after seminary, not smith fe, a small women's college, and was horrified by what she saw in europe. she toured the tenement district of london and she felt that the people she saw there were hardly even people. she likened them to animals. she said, this is not right. this is the modern world, because of course, it was the modern world to her. there is no way in a modern world that people should live like this. but exactly what one could do about it was not clear. she eventually does what one would expect. she turns to her social networks to a woman named ellen gates , starr, and the two of them
talk about how women could have an effect on the terrible conditions created by the urbanization and the industrialization of america, rather than europe. i have shown you pictures here. these are boys from five points. another one of these great pictures. five points is the region of new york, the area of new york that is famous in "gangs of new york." it is famous as being the most dangerous part of new york. here is another image of five points. so the question is, what can sheltered, middle-class, usually always, but usually white women do to ameliorate these conditions when they cannot vote, they are not involved in the economy? what can they do to stop america from going down this road that we have talked about, where there is very rich, very poor
and everything seems to be falling apart? the answer is that women see the world differently. they see the world organically. the idea that the way women can heal this split, if you will is to return the idea of an , organic society to america. and the way they can do it is -- it is one thing to talk about it, but the way they can do it is literally by living in these areas.
>> the west is going to play an important role in how women's role's play out. this is not a woman on a horse. images the stereotypical of the cowboy coming out of the civil war we talked about with the movement of the cattle of the planes from 1866 onward. the 1870's, the image of the cowboy has a certain role for women, if you think about it. these roles got picked up in westerns ever since. women are either good solid or they are criminals/prostitutes. in this western image. that has to do with the political image of the american cowboy. isse images of women, it
either very good were very bad, it becomes crucial to the way women's images and role in society develops after the war. the reality of women in the west and work very hard in the west. the employment patterns of the west for women replicate those of the east. women work as servants,, they do laundry, they do all of the things they do back east despite the image of the west that women are essentially nuclear wives or prostitutes. there are, i have to include this picture, there are prostitutes in the west. i like this picture especially
because of the liquor in the striped stockings. an image taken of striped signalingand liquor, this is an image of prostitutes. this is not the only reality for western women. yes, they are prostitutes, but for the most part women are doing every thing needed back east. that is that old saying they had to do everything the take care oftill the kids at the same time. the experiences of western women have an image of stay-at-home women, butollowed the reality is they were doing everything. although i said that, because of that image of the cowboy, women really do push the idea, women writers and writers about the west push the idea very heavily
in the late 19th century that good american women, because the cowboy takes on such great power and is a symbol of america after the civil war, good american women are housewives. they are in the home taking care of the kids. born inwilder here was 1867, lived through this period, she is probably our most influential western writer. wilder a western writer? her books have been in print since the 1930's. in my generation, everybody read them. places,rom a number of but rights out of south dakota. what is fascinating is that she wrote them in part because she so thoroughly hated the new deal. these bookselops in a very specific image of a western woman. an american woman.
that is somebody who follows a good man, stays at home in the and, takes care of the kids is rewarded for that good behavior. the sad thing to me is that is not the life she lived, that is the life she wrote. lived point the family above a saloon. she makes most of her own money. in fact, pa is kind of a loser. that is not what she develops in these books. that idea of women being at home taking care of their kids and being rewarded really takes off in the late 19th and early 20th century. the reason i make such a big deal about this, looking at who should have a say in american society, is that by the 1880's you get the rising idea that women are different and they should have a say in american society, not because everybody should have week -- not how
everybody should have equal rights, but rather because they are wives and mothers. yesterday, i was reading the of theion notes constitutional convention of 1889. , whenn this convention they are talking about women's suffrage, mr. king says "i am in favor of allowing liberty to every citizen of the united states. just said chinese and indians can vote or hold office -- no discussion they let it through. , i firmlya says believe that the women of this territory or any state of the union are just as well-qualified for the right of several chaz the average man." here you go. average man. there are tens of thousands of 10 thousand times better qualified than one half of a man to vote in these united states.
up your is theng idea that at the very moment americans are trying to figure out who should have a say and american society, they are cutting out african-americans with the idea that african-americans are corrupting the vote because they want handouts from the government. they are cutting out laborers because of the idea that organized labor also want handouts. always even so sure about the robber barons because they are concerned the robber barons are the industrialists -- they are switching the congress and legislature to unfairly benefit them. lots of people like susan b. anthony who said maybe race should be taken into consideration. maybe class should be taken into consideration.
maybe education should be taken into consideration. but women are good wives and mothers. rightre going to vote the way, so long as they are wives and mothers. in 1890, the year after -- mind you there is not a direct the national women's suffrage association -- the american women severed association merged to become the national american women's suffrage association. what they do is they focus on getting suffrage pair they focus on the vote. this alienates a number of the people who had been part of the national association and fay make susan b. anthony the honorary president. thiss an elderly woman at point. hass clear that her moment passed and going to be on the
suffrage, but the idea of -- relies not on the idea that everybody should have equal rights, but rather that some people belong in american society because of the way they think or who they are. ofalked about the rise lynching after 1889 in the idea -- certaing african-americans shouldn't participate in society. i talked about the government using troops in homestead and pullman against strikers. women are not part of that. women want the suffrage, insist they should have suffrage because they are good wives and mothers. they are going to clean up society. they are not going to ask the government for special favors. they are on the right team. this is a powerful argument. the first woman elected to congress from montana is janet
-- she is not the first to sit in congress. you're going to hear about the first woman to sit in congress and a few weeks, but she is the first woman elected to congress. this idea that the people should get the vote that -- because they are wives and mothers. i want to argue that when women get the vote, when they begin to push this idea, they do it deliberately. 1890, the mississippi constitution i talked about basedrestricted the vote on education or poll taxes in the south, a whole range of new constitutional conventions after 1890, but also in the north there are a number of new constitutions that take the boat away from african-american men, poor men, immigrants. at the very moment that women are getting the vote. really interesting. women get the vote in part
because they argue they will purify american society. they are not like those people trying to use the government for the wrong ends, they will use the government for good. i love these images because women not only wear white when arguing for suffrage, they also push their babies. look at this image. dressed in white, pushing their babies. not because they deserve to have equal rights, everyone deserves equal rights, but because women must participate in an american society, but must participate in a particular american society. americanlonger an society based on the idea that every human lang -- every human being by definition should have a say. anis now the idea of american society in which certain people should have a say in american society because they
are defending the idea of a nuclear family, a government that is not beholden to any special interests, that will advance the idea we talked about through horatio alger onto the late 19th century. willdle-class idea, if you . the idea that government should not respond to anybody. should not be responding to african-americans, should not be responding to organized labor that many newspapers and thinkers accused of trying to pervert american society, it should respond to a group of people who claim not to want special interests, claim not to want help from the government. paradoxically, because they do not want anything from the government, they are the ones who should control it. when they become the ones who can control it, they will control it for their own interests. it is this moment, the rise of
an articulated look at how women should be participants in american society that we creek -- that we crystallize the idea of an american middle class. are there any questions? let's pick it up on thursday with a long day. dorothy richardson. announcer: listen to "lectures in history" on the grow -- on the go by streaming our podcasts anywhere, anytime. you are watching c-span3. announcer: if you like "american history tv," keep up with us on facebook and youtube. learn about what happened on this day in history and see preview clips of upcoming programs. follow us at c-span history.
according to the national interagency fire center, between january and september this year approximately 44,000 wildfires burned over 7 million acres across the country. this sunday, we feature archival films about wildfires, firefighting and fire prevention -- fire -- here's a preview. >> ♪ >> [indiscernible] >> and the buses and trolley cars. , even in the comics. and now, there is a small -- there is a song about smoky that children all across our country can sing.
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