Fighting Chance: The Struggle over Woman Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstruction America

Faye E. Dudden. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (326p) ISBN 978-0-19-977263-6
In a nitty-gritty account of the struggle for suffrage in the years before, during, and especially after the Civil War, Dudden charts the gradual splintering of the initially united feminist and abolitionist movements, transforming women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony from proponents of universal suffrage into partisans for women's voting rights alone, even opposing the 15th Amendment. Dudden, a history professor at Colgate University (Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America), addresses the ugly racism employed by some in the women's suffrage movement, in particular Stanton, in a late bid for support of racist Democrats. Dudden finds the split's roots in a bitter fight over priorities and over money. Abolitionist Wendell Phillips, who controlled vital funds slated for woman suffrage, declared it to be the "Negro's hour" in 1865, and rejected Stanton and Anthony's arguments that the Reconstruction represented (in Henry Ward Beecher's words) the "favored hour" for all. Without trying to justify Stanton and Anthony's racist tactics, Dudden explains how infighting and differences over the chance to gain universal suffrage crippled the women's suffrage movement, and drove its leaders to racist invective. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 296 pages - 978-0-19-977318-3
Paperback - 287 pages - 978-0-19-937643-8
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