Suffragists in an Imperial Age: U.S. Expansion and the Woman Question, 1870-1929

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Overview

In 1899, Carrie Chapman Catt, who succeeded Susan B. Anthony as head of the National American Women Suffrage Association, argued that it was the "duty" of U.S. women to help lift the inhabitants of its new island possessions up from "barbarism" to "civilization," a project that would presumably demonstrate the capacity of U.S. women for full citizenship and political rights. Catt, like many suffragists in her day, was well-versed in the language of empire, and infused the cause of suffrage with imperialist zeal in public debate.

Unlike their predecessors, who were working for votes for women within the context of slavery and abolition, the next generation of suffragists argued their case against the backdrop of the U.S. expansionism into Indian and Mormon territory at home as well as overseas in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In this book, Allison L. Sneider carefully examines these simultaneous political movements—woman suffrage and American imperialism—as inextricably intertwined phenomena, instructively complicating the histories of both.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fresh and originial approach.... In a study that will prove to be one of the most innovative and important to emerge on the women's rights movement, Suffragists in an Imperial Age demonstrates the centrality of the movement for women's rights to the larger debate over the literal and metaphorical boundaries of the nation."—Kathi Kern, Women's Review of Books

"Beyond her significant contributions to the history of the U.S. women's suffrage campaign, Sneider contributes to the history of U.S. expansionism by tracking how women's rights leaders and their foes linked domestic struggles over political rights to imperial debates."—Kristin Hoganson, American Historical Review

"Suffragists in an Imperial Age rightly aims to bridge a gap between cultural historical work on gender and the more established work on gender and the more established woman's history tradition that has been fascinated by the questions around woman's suffrage and its key figures.... Sneider's work opens up some important avenues for the burgeoning work on the history of women's internationalism, and fits nicely with the work of foreign relations historians and those studying the interplay between the foreign and the domestic."—Brian M. Foster, H-Net Reviews

"Beautifully researched and well written, this gem of a book offers a new, frame-shifting look at some of the connections that existed between a series of (seemingly separate) public debates in the US after the Civil War—voting rights for women and US expansionism, both in the West and abroad.... Essential."—N.B. Rosenthal, CHOICE

"Sneider's admirable resistance to telling a 'good story' short-circuits assumptions that are too easily made regarding the relationship between pro-suffragist activists and the lure of empire."—Tracey Jean Boisseau, The Journal of American History

"Sneider has written an innovative study of the intersections of suffrage and expansionism."—The Nation

"This is one of the rare books that will fundamentally change the operating assumptions of scholars working in two fields: women's history and imperial history."—Anne Firor Scott, Duke University

"Suffragists in an Imperial Age offers an illuminating analysis of how suffrage ideologies were reshaped in the second half of the nineteenth century to reflect larger concerns over citizenship and nation-building. Allison Sneider has written a marvelous book, one that will surely rank among our best studies of U.S. suffragism in the postbellum period."—Louise Newman, author of White Women's Rights

"Sneider...is focused more broadly on how American women fit into the construction of citizenship as people of increasing racial diversity came under U.S. dominance...Prove[s] the necessity of broadening perspectives on U.S. women's citizenship activism to consider and incorporate global influences." —Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195321166
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/4/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Allison L. Sneider is Associate Professor of History at Rice University.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1: U.S. Expansion and the Woman Question, 1870-1929
Ch. 2: Reconstruction and Annexation: Suffragists in Washington, DC and Santo Domingo, 1870-1875
Ch. 3: Western Expansion and the Politics of Federalism: Indians, Mormons, and Territorial Statehood, 1878-1887
Ch. 4: Imperial Expansion and the Problem of Hawaii, 1898-1902
Ch. 5: Getting Suffrage in the Context of Empire: The Philippines and Puerto Rico, 1914-1929
Epilogue

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