Looking at both the private and public lives of women and men in rural and urban Kansas, Michael Lewis Goldberg offers sweeping evidence of the role gender played in influencing Gilded Age politics. In An Army of Women, he analyzes how political activists in the Populist Party and the Woman Movement sought to create a role for women while retaining the support of men. When these activists employed the often slippery symbols of masculinity and femininity, they found that gendered meanings often changed with the shifting political context. Their ideas and assumptions about gender helped determine their ideologies, strategies, the fate of their movements, and their impact on American politics. Goldberg's broad scope and use of both traditional and unusual sources--including folkways, poems, songs, and novels--allow readers to understand the movements both as part of a national framework and within the context of the state and local cultures that were their primary concern.
"Goldberg succeeds in demonstrating the tremendous importance of the story of women's political activism and suffrage efforts in Kansas and explores this material in a way that reveals its considerable complexity... He establishes that the story of Kansas is a crucial element in the history of Gilded Age women's political activism." -- Ellen Carol DuBois, American Historical Review
"The ablest account to date of Kansas's most famous female Populists... Goldberg has written an important book. More than anyone else to date, he has advanced understanding of the role that gender played in Gilded Age politics and in Populism." -- William F. Holmes, Georgia Historical Quarterly
"Goldberg breaks new ground discussing how shifting definitions of womanhood and manhood divided the leading families of Kansas towns from the farm families who surrounded them... An engaging narrative about major conflicts in Kansas -- and national -- history." -- Kansas History
"Well-written and fascinating... successful demonstration of the power of gender analysis to bring fresh and creative insights to the study of political culture." -- Nancy G. Garner, Montana: The Magazine of Western HistoryBook Description:
"Goldberg has taken a staple topic of U.S. history and utterly renewed it in a stimulating, forcefully written narrative, the first attempt really to understand the role of women as political agents in the Populist movement at the local level. Groundbreaking not only in making attention to women's participation central to politics, but also in integrating the study of the environment with politics and culture, An Army of Women will serve as a model of the new multifaceted political history." -- Nancy Cott, Yale University
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