In this definitive volume, respected historian Christine Stansell tells the story of one of the great democratic movements of our times. She paints richly detailed portraits of well-known leaders—Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Betty Friedan—but others, too, appear in a new light, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Toni Morrison. Accounting for the failures of feminism as well as the successes, Stansell notes the emergence in the early 1900s of the dashing “New Woman”; the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote; the post–World War II collapse of suburban neo-Victorianism; the radical feminism of the 1960s; and the fight for women’s rights in developing countries in the era of international feminist movements. A soaring work, The Feminist Promise is bound to become an authoritative source on this essential subject for decades to come.
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|Title of History eBook: The Feminist Promise|
|Release Date: 05-11-2010|
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|Publisher: Modern Library|
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|Parent title||The Feminist Promise|
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The Feminist Promise
There is nothing new about men's power, or women's recognition of it. Men have dominated, ruled, lorded over, and subjugated women as long as there has been recorded history. But the ways people have understood the preeminence of one sex over the other have changed through time. Western beliefs are rooted in a Christian schema that divided human beings into ranks according to a divine plan. As God ruled the world and man ruled beasts, so monarchs (usually kings) ruled subjects, fathers ruled children, masters ruled apprentices and servants, and men governed women. Rebelling against one's place in this order amounted to defying the will of God.
In the late eighteenth century, the great world-transforming revolutions in America and France overturned these assumptions, overthrowing monarchical rule first in the American colonies and then in France and installing governments based on the consent of the governed and the rights of man. The subordination of women survived the American and French revolutions, as did slavery, whose colossal expansion in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries introduced another stark relationship of domination. In the American Revolution, patriots barely considered the question of women, nor did they debate the emancipation of the slaves (although the British offered emancipation as an enticement to join their side). Women joined the revolution in full force, but they never pressed for clarity about their own relation to the rights the patriots claimed, and soon most of those rights were out of bounds. In the French Revolution, women were present in all phases. Some pursued rights for their sex, and in the early days they were partially successf...