America 1900-1909: Lifestyles and Social Trends Research Article from American Decades

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Maternalism.

Though widely excluded from the maledominated political parties, fraternal organizations, and trade unions, women found other ways of influencing public policy, making great strides by the first decade of the twentieth century but often at high cost to themselves. Through their own labor organizations, volunteer groups, and pressure groups they won broader and greater rights for working-class women and their children. Drawing on the widely held belief in the moral superiority of women, their wisdom and special responsibility in dealing with family issues, middle-class reformers developed a "maternalist" vision of women's political role. They expanded the nineteenth-century cult of domesticity— the belief that a woman's proper sphere was the home — to legitimize their efforts to influence publicpolicy issues that affected the family, including prostitution and abuse of the family by male alcoholics, as well as economic and health provisions for children...

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This section contains 1,196 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the America 1900-1909: Lifestyles and Social Trends Encyclopedia Article
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America 1900-1909: Lifestyles and Social Trends from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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