The American Women's Movement: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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The American women’s movement was one of the most influential social movements of the twentieth century. Beginning with small numbers, the women’s movement eventually involved tens of thousands of women and men. Longstanding ideas and habits came under scrutiny as activists questioned and changed the nation’s basic institutions, including all branches of government, the workplace, and the family. Nancy MacLean’s introduction and collection of primary sources engage students with the most up-to-date scholarship in U.S. women’s history. The introduction traces the deep roots of the women’s movement and demonstrates the continuity from women’s activism in the labor movement and New Deal networks, the black civil rights movement, and the peace movement to the height of Second Wave feminism and into the Third Wave. The primary sources reflect the social breadth and depth of the movement. Dispelling the misconception that the American women’s movement was solely a white, middle-class cause, the documents include the voices of women of all ages, classes, and ethnicities. Topics addressed range from wage discrimination, peace activism, housework and childcare, sexuality, and reproductive rights to welfare, education, socialism, violence against women, and more. Document headnotes, a chronology of the women’s movement, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and index support student learning, classroom discussion, and further research.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312448011
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 8/30/2008
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 277,220
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

NANCY MACLEAN Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1989 is professor of history and African American studies at Northwestern University. She studies the workings of class, gender, race, and region in twentieth-century social movements and public policy. Her first book, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan 1994, was named a "noteworthy" book of the year by the New York Times Book Review, and received the Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the Owsley Prize from the Southern Historical Association, and the Rosenhaupt Award from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Her most recent book, Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace 2006, received an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, the Willard Hurst Prize for best book in sociolegal history from the Law and Society Association, the Labor History Best Book Prize from the International Association of Labor History Institutions, the Richard A. Lester Prize for the Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, and the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council.

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Table of Contents




The Impact of Activism

The Long Women’s Movement

The Chilling Effects of the Red Scare

Civil Rights Organizing Offers a Way Forward

The New Feminism of the "Second Wave"

Changing Culture and Policy

The Conservative Backlash

Carrying on in a Polarized Era

American Feminists on a Global Stage


1. Congress of American Women, "The Position of the American Woman Today," 1946
2. Edith M. Stern, "Women are Household Slaves," 1949
3. United Auto Workers, "A Union Protects Its Women Members," 1955
4. Daughters of Bilitis, "Purpose of the Daughters of Bilitis," 1955
5. Ella Baker, "Developing Leadership among Other People," in Civil Rights 1960
6. Ethol Barol Taylor, "‘There was such a feeling of sisterhood’ in Working for Peace," 1962
7. President’s Commission on the Status of Women, "Invitation to Action," 1963
8. Pauli Murray, "Women’s Rights Are a Part of Human Rights," 1964
9. National Organization of Women, "Statement of Purpose," 1966
10. Kathie Sarachild, "A Program for Feminist ‘Consciousness Raising’," 1968
11. Margaret Cerullo, "Hidden History: An Illegal Abortion," 1968
12. National Organization for Women, "Why Feminists Want Child Care," 1969
13. Alice de Rivera, "On De-Segregating Stuyvesant High School," 1969
14. The Feminists, "Women: Do You Know the Facts about Marriage?," 1969
15. Gainesville Women’s Liberation, "What Men Can Do for Women’s Liberation," 1970
16. Young Lords Party, "Position Paper on Women," 1970
17. Pat Mainardi, "The Politics of Housework," 1970
18. A Women’s Health Collective, "The Male-Feasance of Health," 1970
19. Susan Griffin, "Rape Is a Form of Mass Terrorism," 1970
20. Radicalesbians, "The Woman-Identified Woman," 1970
21. First National Chicana Conference, "Workshop Resolutions," 1971
22. Johnnie Tillmon, "Welfare is a Women’s Issue," 1972
23. Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, "Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement," 1972
24. Phyllis Schlafly, "What’s Wrong with ‘Equal Rights’ for Women?," 1972
25. Susan Jacoby, "Feminism in the $12,000-a-Year Family," 1973
26. Margaret Sloan, "Black Feminism: A New Mandate," 1974
27. Letha Scanzoni, "For the Christian, The Idea of Human Freedom Shouldn’t be Threatening," 1976
28. Anonymous, "Letter from a Battered Wife," ca. 1976
29. Deirdre Silverman, "Sexual Harassment Begins with Hiring Procedures," 1976
30. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement," 1977
31. Men Allied Nationally for the Equal Rights Amendment, "Ways Men Can Benefit," 1978
32. Mitsuye Yamada, "Asian Pacific American Women and Feminism," 1979
33. Jerry Falwell, "Rise up against the Tide of Permissiveness and Moral Decay," 1980
34. Bernice Johnson Reagon, "Coalition Politics: Turning the Century," 1981
35. Yoichi Shimatsu and Patricia Lee, "Dust and Dishes: Organizing Workers," 1989
36. Jyotsna Vaid, "Seeking a Voice: South Asian Women’s Groups in North America," 1989
37. Laurie Ouellette, "Building the Third Wave: Reflections of a Young Feminist," 1992
38. "PFLAG Supports Gay and Lesbian Children," 1994
39. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, "Women’s Rights Are Human Rights," 1995
40. Jennifer Baumgartner and Amy Richards, "A Day without Feminism," 2000


A Chronology of the American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000

Questions for Consideration

Selected Bibliography


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