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Saturday, January 15, 2022

January 15-16, 2022: Crowd-sourced Political Women

[On January 12th, 1932, Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. So for the 90th anniversary of that historic occasion, this week I’ve AmericanStudied Caraway and a handful of other political women. Leading up to this crowd-sourced weekend post featuring responses & nominations from fellow AmericanStudiers—add yours in comments, please!]

Responding to Tuesday’s Jeannette Rankin post, Amanda Mecke tweets, There was much space between Lindbergh and GOP Isolationists and a sincere pacifist like Rankin no doubt, but her unsupported stance after the destruction of the fleet in Pearl Harbor meant she offered no acceptable alternative not just to war mongers but even Quakers etc.” She follows up, “I think the agonizing choice of Quakers who fought in WWII provides interesting contrast to Rankin’s political choices among 3 US prongs: US anti-Semitism; recognized pacifism only for organized religions like Quakers or Amish; & both right wing & liberal anti-Stalin discomfort.”

Rebecca Fachner (one of our most badass contemporary political & public history voices) writes, “Rankin was such a boss. She knew the vote against WW2 would cost her the next election and did it anyway. True courage.” She adds, “Also, she’s the only woman in American history to vote to give women the vote. She’s just so great.”

Responding to Friday’s Shirley Chisholm post, Winston Smith shares this video “for those of us who have never experienced the power of Shirley Chisholm.”

One of my favorite podcasters, Kelly Therese Pollock, shares this Sagas of She episode where she talked about Chisholm.

Responding to the series’ subject overall, Irene Martyniuk writes, I think it is always important to consider all the women who serve at the local level in politics—for instance, our now-retired colleagues Judy Budz and Margarite Landry who have served and continues to serve on various committees in their town or my sister who also sits on various committees in her township. ‘All politics is local’ and these women (all of whom serve without remuneration or fanfare) are vital pieces in American democracy.”

Some great Twitter additions to the conversation:

M.A. Davis tweets, “Ruth Bryan Owen deserves to be better-remembered. Largely in the same memory hole as her dad but an important figure in women’s politics.”

Tiffany Wayne shares “a piece I wrote back in 2016 about another woman who ran for President back in the 1970s, part of a series of blog posts by Nursing Clio called ‘Run like a Girl.’”

Spring Semester previews series starts Monday,


PS. What do you think? Other political women or moments you’d highlight?

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