Cover image for A room at a time : how women entered party politics
A room at a time : how women entered party politics
Freeman, Jo.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 353 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
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HQ1236.5.U6 F74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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FOR THE PAPERBACK RELEASE: The prominent political women of today stand upon the shoulders of those who spent the last two hundred years building a foundation for women's political participation. Jo Freeman brings to us the rich story of how American women entered into political life and party politics--well before suffrage and often completely separate from it. She shows that women's early political involvement was focused on the Republican party, very different from the situation today. And she builds up to the explosion of women's political activisim of the 1960s and 1970s, connecting past to future by tracing the roots of key political strategies still being debated in the early 21st century. Now for the first time in paperback, A Room at a Time is considered a landmark of original research into women's political history as well as party politics.

Author Notes

Jo Freeman is author of The Politics of Women's Liberation, co-editor of Waves of Protest, and editor of Social Movements of the Sixties and Seventies and Women: A Feminist Perspective.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

You've come a long way baby--or so say the cigarette ads. In reality, the journey from 1920, when women won the vote, to Hillary Rodham Clinton's overt influence on her husband's presidency in the 1990s, and from conservative reform movements like the Women Christian Temperance Union of the early 1900s to today's Concerned Women for America, is far longer and more twisted than popular history accounts for. Dispelling such commonly held myths as that women engaged in more political activism before suffrage and that there is a secure "bloc" of women voters, Freeman (The Politics of Women's Liberation) focuses on how women's political groups enabled them to move into mainstream party politics by many routes. While the WCTU and YWCA promoted "social purity" ideals, providing the opportunity for some women to gain the political know-how to engage in the electoral side of the game, hard-line political and social reformers like Florence Kelley and Molly Dewson, working closely with Eleanor Roosevelt, brought average women into the Democratic party and into the New Deal and national politics. Freeman deftly weaves together the many intricate political, moral and social complications in her story--such as that the highly influential General Federation of Women's Clubs essentially banned the participation of African-American women--to fashion an insightful, fascinating portrait of the ongoing fight for women to partake fully in U.S. political life. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Feminists, Reformers, and Party Womenp. 1
Myth as Historyp. 1
Political Womenp. 4
Political Partiesp. 6
1 Social Movements and Party Systems: Where Do Women Fit?p. 9
Social Movementsp. 9
Party Systemsp. 11
Where Do Women Fit?p. 20
2 Cracking Open the Door: Women and Partisanship in the Nineteenth Centuryp. 27
Female Reformp. 28
Woman's Rightsp. 31
Partisanshipp. 32
Women in Politicsp. 37
Partisanship and Suffragep. 42
3 Assaulting the Citadel: Woman Suffrage and the Political Partiesp. 47
Woman Suffrage and the Progressive Movementp. 47
Opposition to Woman Suffragep. 50
Female Reform Organizationsp. 53
Feminismp. 57
NAWSA and Nonpartisanshipp. 59
4 Learning the Ropes: Emergence of the Party Womanp. 63
The New Party Womanp. 65
The Election of 1912p. 70
The Election of 1916p. 76
The Parties Respondp. 81
5 Making a Place: The Women's Divisionsp. 85
The Democratsp. 86
The Republicansp. 96
Success But Not Survivalp. 107
6 Party Organization: The Evolution of Fifty-Fiftyp. 109
The Colorado Planp. 110
The National Committeesp. 111
The Committee Officersp. 113
State and Local Party Committeesp. 114
The Futility of 50-50p. 119
7 Down Different Paths: Women's Organizations and Political Parties after 1920p. 123
The League of Women Votersp. 124
The National Woman's Partyp. 129
The Women's Progressive Networkp. 134
Other Feminist Organizationsp. 138
Prohibition and Repealp. 139
Peace and Patriotismp. 143
8 Building a Base: Women in Local Party Politicsp. 149
Bringing Women into the Partiesp. 150
Political Clubsp. 153
Keeping Women in Their Placep. 163
Political Machinesp. 164
Sex Solidarity and Sex Prejudicep. 170
Illusion and Disillusionp. 174
Female Infiltrationp. 176
9 Doing Their Bit: Women in National Party Politicsp. 179
The National Conventionsp. 180
The Convention Committeesp. 183
Women's Work in Presidential Campaignsp. 184
The Woman's Vote?p. 199
10 Having a Say: Women's Issues in the Party Platformsp. 203
11 Claiming a Share: Presidential Appointments of Womenp. 213
Expanding Women's Spherep. 214
Presidential Appointmentsp. 215
12 Conclusionp. 227
Opportunities and Constraintsp. 229
What Women Accomplishedp. 234
Sources, Citations, and Abbreviationsp. 237
Notesp. 241
Referencesp. 311
Indexp. 339
About the Authorp. 353