The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898

The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898

by Lisa Tetrault
     
 

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Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This provocative work challenges the standard narrative of the history of the women's rights movement in the United States. Even more important, however, it aids readers in understanding how collective historical memory is created and shaped. . . . Fascinating. . . . Recommended for scholars in women's history, constitutional history, and late-19th-century American history.--Library Journal

Tetrault expertly unpacks the myth of Seneca Falls by examining the messy history of the leaders in the post-Civil War women's rights movement.--Choice

Library Journal
07/01/2014
This provocative work challenges the standard narrative of the history of the women's rights movement in the United States. Even more important, however, it aids readers in understanding how collective historical memory is created and shaped. Debunking the notion of beginnings or origins, Tetrault (history, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh) seeks to explain why and how the 1848 Seneca Falls "convention" assumed its central role in the usual historical narrative. Arguing that the women's rights movement could be thought to have had many "beginnings," she roots the centrality of the Seneca Falls "myth" in the political divisions that emerged among suffrage leaders in the decades following the Civil War, as well as in the broader constitutional debates about freedom, black rights, and federal power that marked Reconstruction and its aftermath. The Elizabeth Stanton-Susan B. Anthony faction of suffrage leadership highlighted Seneca Falls because they found it useful to their political agenda and strategy. Some readers may be surprised to learn that the suffrage movement of these years was overly white, narrow in focus and membership, and prone to the race-baiting so typical of these divisive decades. What is also important about this well-argued study is the insights it provides into the pathbreaking nature of the Stanton-Anthony team, both as politicians and as historians of women. The book is fascinating insofar as it unravels the memories of suffrage leaders and sheds light on their internecine battles. VERDICT Recommended for scholars in women's history, constitutional history, and late-19th-century American history.—Marie M. Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469614274
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
06/15/2014
Series:
Gender and American Culture Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
737,777
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Tetrault examines how the history and memory of women's suffrage was created by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, as well as their legions of accomplices over time. She makes the convincing case that an archival approach to this 'construction' of a canonized memory will show us how an origins myth rooted in the narrative of Seneca Falls has hovered over the story and reputation of women's suffrage ever since Stanton and Anthony wrote their History. How and why Stanton and Anthony created their own myth of leadership as well as the progress narrative of their movement is a splendid case for how the politics of memory works in history.--David Blight, Yale University

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