Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President

Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President

by Jill Norgren
     
 

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Foreword by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President, prize-winning legal historian Jill Norgren recounts, for the first time, the life story of one of the nineteenth century’s most surprising and accomplished advocates for women’s rights. As Norgren shows, Lockwood was

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Overview

Foreword by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President, prize-winning legal historian Jill Norgren recounts, for the first time, the life story of one of the nineteenth century’s most surprising and accomplished advocates for women’s rights. As Norgren shows, Lockwood was fearless in confronting the male establishment, commanding the attention of presidents, members of Congress, influential writers, and everyday Americans. Obscured for too long in the historical shadow of her longtime colleague, Susan B. Anthony, Lockwood steps into the limelight at last in this engaging new biography.

Born on a farm in upstate New York in 1830, Lockwood married young and reluctantly became a farmer’s wife. After her husband's premature death, however, she earned a college degree, became a teacher, and moved to Washington, DC with plans to become an attorney-an occupation all but closed to women. Not only did she become one of the first female attorneys in the U.S., but in 1879 became the first woman ever allowed to practice at the bar of the Supreme Court.

In 1884 Lockwood continued her trailblazing ways as the first woman to run a full campaign for the U.S. Presidency. She ran for President again in 1888. Although her candidacies were unsuccessful (as she knew they would be), Lockwood demonstrated that women could compete with men in the political arena. After these campaigns she worked tirelessly on behalf of the Universal Peace Union, hoping, until her death in 1917, that she, or the organization, would win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Belva Lockwood deserves to be far better known. As Norgren notes, it is likely that Lockwood would be widely recognized today as a feminist pioneer if most of her personal papers had not been destroyed after her death. Fortunately for readers, Norgren shares much of her subject’s tenacity and she has ensured Lockwood’s rightful place in history with this meticulously researched and beautifully written book.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Astonishingly, this is the first scholarly biography of 19th-century activist Belva Lockwood. Lawyer, lobbyist, wife, mother, and contemporary of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lockwood was among the most formidable of equal rights advocates. The first female lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the relentlessly ambitious Lockwood ran for the U.S. presidency in 1884 and 1888 on the Equal Rights Party ticket. Although she received no electoral votes, she campaigned on a comprehensive platform that addressed domestic and foreign policy issues. Later she concentrated on her work for the Universal Peace Union and her Washington, DC, legal practice while maintaining a demanding public-speaking schedule. Her life was never easy, as she constantly fought to surmount political and legal barriers and to support her family. Although few of Lockwood's papers have survived, Norgren (government, emerita, John Jay Coll. & Graduate Ctr., CUNY) has delivered an able and long overdue study of Lockwood's life, drawing on newspapers, magazines, organizational records, and the papers of Lockwood's contemporaries. Though the book emphasizes Lockwood's career, the inclusion of information on her family and friends gives added dimension. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries; essential for women's history collections.
—Linda V. Carlisle

From the Publisher
“Norgren has written an engrossing and insightful book about Belva Lockwood, a woman who, through tenacity, drive and self worth, accomplished more in the 19th century than many modern women accomplish. Because Lockwood was known to few and most of her personal papers were destroyed after her death, Norgren has done an exemplary job of illuminating the life of this varied and accomplished woman.”-The Law and Politics Book Review

“Norgren eloquently and succinctly educates the reader on the story of the first woman to ever be allowed to argue before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the first woman to ever launch two full scale bids for this country’s presidency . . . Norgren’s writing is engaging and her narrative is accessible yet rich with fact.”-Feminist Review

“For those interested in U.S. women’s history or the nineteenth-century practice of law, Norgen’s work is a must.”-Law and History Review

“An engaging account of Belva Lockwood’s struggles and achievements as one of the first women to enter the legal profession in the United States in the late 19th century.”-Canadian Journal of Law and Society

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814758618
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
311
Sales rank:
1,161,679
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“Exceptionally well-researched. Norgren’s contribution is to situate Lockwood among a generation of female activists. Norgren is successful in moving the woman who would be president to her proper standing as a pioneering lawyer who would change America.”
-Jean Baker,American Historical Review

“For those interested in U.S. women's history or the nineteenth-century practice of law, Norgen’s work is a must.”
-Law and History Review

,

“Norgren has written an engrossing and insightful book about Belva Lockwood, a woman who, through tenacity, drive and self worth, accomplished more in the 19th century than many modern women accomplish. Because Lockwood was known to few and most of her personal papers were destroyed after her death, Norgren has done an exemplary job of illuminating the life of this varied and accomplished woman.”
-The Law and Politics Book Review

,

“An engaging account of Belva Lockwood’s struggles and achievements as one of the first women to enter the legal profession in the United States in the late 19th century.”
-Canadian Journal of Law and Society

,

“Norgren eloquently and succinctly educates the reader on the story of the first woman to ever be allowed to argue before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the first woman to ever launch two full scale bids for this country’s presidency . . . Norgren’s writing is engaging and her narrative is accessible yet rich with fact.”
-Feminist Review

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Meet the Author

Jill Norgren is Professor Emerita of Political Science at John Jay College, and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She is the award winning author of many articles and books, including Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President (NYU Press, 2007); The Cherokee Cases; and American Cultural Pluralism and Law (with Serena Nanda).

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