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Front Pages, Front LinesMedia and the Fight for Women's Suffrage$
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Linda Steiner, Carolyn Kitch, and Brooke Kroeger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043109

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043109.001.0001

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Nineteenth-Century Suffrage Journals

Nineteenth-Century Suffrage Journals

Inventing and Defending New Women

(p.42) 2 Nineteenth-Century Suffrage Journals
Front Pages, Front Lines

Linda Steiner

University of Illinois Press

This chapter use theories of status politics (conflicts as proxies for important debates over the deference paid to a particular group’s lifestyle) to show the importance of nineteenth-century suffragists’ own newspapers and magazines to the movement. The women who wrote for, edited, and published these outlets essentially invented and then celebrated at least four different versions of a new political woman and then proceeded to dramatize that new woman, showing how she named herself, dressed, dealt with her family, and interacted in the larger public sphere, and showing why she deserved the vote. The pre-Civil War suffrage periodicals essentially proposed a “sensible woman” while the postwar period saw competition between the “strong-minded” women aggressively promoted in the Revolution and the more moderate “responsible women” advocated by the Woman’s Journal. Later, the Woman’s Era dramatized an “earnest” new black woman.

Keywords:   status politics, “sensible woman”, “strong-minded” women, black women suffragists, the Revolution, the Woman’s Era

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