Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage through the Rise of the New Right

Overview

In the wake of the Nineteenth Amendment, Republican women set out to forge a place for themselves within the Grand Old Party. As Catherine Rymph explains, their often conflicting efforts over the subsequent decades would leave a mark on both conservative politics and American feminism.

Part of an emerging body of work on women's participation in partisan politics, Republican Women explores the dilemmas confronting progressive, conservative, and moderate Republican women as they ...

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Overview

In the wake of the Nineteenth Amendment, Republican women set out to forge a place for themselves within the Grand Old Party. As Catherine Rymph explains, their often conflicting efforts over the subsequent decades would leave a mark on both conservative politics and American feminism.

Part of an emerging body of work on women's participation in partisan politics, Republican Women explores the dilemmas confronting progressive, conservative, and moderate Republican women as they sought to achieve a voice for themselves within the GOP. Rymph first examines women's grassroots organizing for the party in the decades following the initiation of women's suffrage. She then traces Marion Martin's efforts from 1938 to 1946 to shape the National Federation of Women's Republican Clubs, the party's increasing dependence on the work of women at the grassroots in the postwar years, and the eventual mobilization of many of these women behind Barry Goldwater, in defiance of party leaders.

From the flux of the party's post-Goldwater years emerged two groups of women on a collision course: a group of party insiders calling themselves feminists challenged supporters of independent Republican Phyllis Schlafly's growing movement opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Their battles over the meanings of gender, power, and Republicanism continued earlier struggles even as they helped shape the party's fundamental transformation in the Reagan years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well-researched and its chronological arrangement provides a coherent structure to the story. . . . A highly-readable, worthwhile history of the elite females who carved out a place for women in the GOP at the national level."
Florida Historical Quarterly

"A tightly focused monograph. . . . A well-researched example of how gender concerns can be integrated with political history."
Indiana Magazine of History

"Historians of modern conservatism and the Republican Party would be well served to read Rymph's book, as she sheds light on an understudied aspect of the GOP. . . . A highly-readable, worthwhile history of the elite females who carved out a place for women in the GOP at the national level."
Florida Historical Quarterly

"This book represents the best of what the new women's political history has to offer: an interpretation that reshapes both women's history and political history equally well. Rymph's delineation of women's partisan activity in the postsuffrage era gives an in-depth overview of women's struggles in the Republican Party that has more texture and historical context than previous broad surveys. She also revisits the perennially important question of separatism versus integration as a strategy for women's advancement, and does a very good job of keeping questions of race and African American women's participation central to the story, not just a footnote or afterthought.(Susan Ware, editor of Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century"

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807856529
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/17/2006
  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine E. Rymph is assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri.

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Table of Contents

1 Party women and the dilemmas of women's suffrage 14
2 So many Joan of Arcs : the political style of independent clubwomen 40
3 Playing the man's game : Marion Martin and the creation of the National Federation of Women's Republican Clubs 67
4 The return of the female political crusade 98
5 The housework of government 131
6 To be neutral or neutralized? : Republican women and the Goldwater campaign 160
7 The rise of Republican feminism 188
8 Going down in flames : Republican feminism and the rise of the new right 212
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