Editors: Kathryn Kish Sklar
and Thomas Dublin
Published by Alexander Street Press and the
Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender, SUNY Binghamton
In This Issue
In "How Did Sarah Bagley Contribute to the Ten-Hour Movement in Lowell and How Did Her Labor Activism Flow into Other Reform Movements, 1836-1870?" Teresa Murphy and Thomas Dublin bring together documents that both illuminate Sarah Bagley's activism in the ten-hour movement and demonstrate how early factory employment not only brought women's work out of the home but provided women a collective experience that supported their participation in the world of broader social reform movements -- such as antislavery, moral reform, peace, labor reform, and women's rights campaigns. Furthermore, the documents reveal that working women, like working men in this period, drew initially on republican traditions to defend their rights and interests but ultimately came to justify their concern for social justice on a combination of religious and rationalist grounds, opposing the growing inequality evident in American society and demanding for themselves as workers and as women greater rights and rewards in that society.
Women were highly visible in the abolitionist movement for three decades before the outbreak of the Civil War; Catherine Clinton, in "How Did Women Participate in the Underground Railroad?" documents their less well-known participation in the underground railroad, the clandestine network of individuals that assisted runaway slaves gain their freedom in the North and Canada. This project documents the escapes of female runaways recorded by the noted Philadelphia stationmaster William Still and the efforts of Harriet Tubman, the most famous underground railroad abductor. The project shows that women were extremely active in this very important form of resistance to slavery in the late antebellum years.
On April 15, 1919, socialist lecturer and organizer Kate Richards O'Hare (1876-1948) entered the Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City as a federal prisoner to begin serving a five-year sentence for violating the Espionage Act. Lubna A. Alam, in "How Did Kate Richards O'Hare's Conviction and Incarceration for Sedition during World War I Change Her Activism?" demonstrates that although O'Hare served less than fourteen months before President Wilson commuted her sentence, her prison experience served as a watershed in her life. While O'Hare's worldview remained socialist, after her release from prison, she largely ceased socialist agitation, devoting considerable energy to reforming the country's penal system. The documents in this project examine the impact of O'Hare's prison experiences on her activism, and explore her subsequent influence on prison reform through her writings, public lecture tours, and her actions as Assistant Director of Penology in California.
The three new Document Based Questions included in this issue, Political Women in the American Revolution, Woman Suffrage in Colorado, and Du Bois and Washington on Woman Suffrage are modeled on the New York State Regents Examinations in United States History and Government. The topics represented by the DBQs can be found in the 11th grade Core Curriculum. These DBQs are designed to simulate the interpretive thinking of historians. They ask real questions that contemporary historians are working on. The documents allow a variety of interpretations and the scaffolding questions allow multiple responses. Students should find the topics interesting and intellectually stimulating.
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