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Big SisterFeminism, Conservatism, and Conspiracy in the Heartland$
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Erin M. Kempker

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041976

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041976.001.0001

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Women’s Experience in Cold War America

Women’s Experience in Cold War America

(p.15) Chapter 1 Women’s Experience in Cold War America
Big Sister

Erin M. Kempker

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 1 surveys Cold War America and looks at the experience of American women coming out of World War II. This chapter explains the history of world federalism and the desire for increased global cooperation after two world wars in the twentieth century. It also introduces important anticommunist organizations that challenged world government, like Pro America, the Minute Women, and the John Birch Society and activism in Indiana. Finally, it discusses rightwing women’s politics during the postwar era. Like their leftwing counterparts active in Women Strike for Peace, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement, rightwing women were intensely active during the 1950s and 1960s. In that way, they too defy the notion of apolitical housewives and offer more proof that American women were “not June Cleaver,” but unlike their leftist counterparts, they rooted their political activism in maternalism and essentialized the nature of women to include antisubversive political activity.

Keywords:   Cold War, Pro America, Minute Women, Conservatism, women, political activity, twentieth century, World War II, world government, anticommunism, American Legion

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