Submission Title

"Between Two Fires": Gender and American Socialism in the Progressive Era

Subject Area

History

Description

The Progressive Era (1890-1920) in the United States was a time of immense change in both the political and private spheres. Movements which sought to fundamentally upend the political status quo gained in popularity, including that of socialism. Socialism promised equality for workers regardless of gender, something that appealed to many American women at the time. A myriad of upper/middle-class and working-class women were thus initially drawn to the socialist movement. These women, however, would not find the salvation they were promised. Instead, they would confront the very same misogyny they experienced in mainstream political parties, as their struggle was trivialized and forgotten by their fellow socialists. This paper investigates why women from different levels of the socio-economic strata were drawn to socialism, as well as why and how men excluded them from the movement.

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"Between Two Fires": Gender and American Socialism in the Progressive Era

The Progressive Era (1890-1920) in the United States was a time of immense change in both the political and private spheres. Movements which sought to fundamentally upend the political status quo gained in popularity, including that of socialism. Socialism promised equality for workers regardless of gender, something that appealed to many American women at the time. A myriad of upper/middle-class and working-class women were thus initially drawn to the socialist movement. These women, however, would not find the salvation they were promised. Instead, they would confront the very same misogyny they experienced in mainstream political parties, as their struggle was trivialized and forgotten by their fellow socialists. This paper investigates why women from different levels of the socio-economic strata were drawn to socialism, as well as why and how men excluded them from the movement.