June 2004


Editors : Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin
Published by Alexander Street Press and the
Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender, SUNY Binghamton


In This Issue

In "How Did the Removal of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia Shape Women's Activism in the North, 1817-1838?" Kathryn Kish Sklar explores the social, political and cultural context that prompted northern women to sign and circulate petitions calling on the U.S. Congress to support the property rights of Cherokee people. In 1829 this petition campaign marked the first organized and independent entry of women into national political life. Women were central actors in the cultural contact between New England and Cherokee people after 1800 and in the process by which New England evangelicals, including New England missionaries among the Cherokee, challenged Andrew Jackson's policies of Indian removal.

In "How Did White Women Reformers with the Southern Utes Respond to Gendered Assimilationist Indian Policies?" Katherine Osburn illuminates through documents left by white women reformers on the Southern Ute reservation several historical trends in early twentieth century Indian Affairs. Every one of these women--field matrons, school teachers, and volunteer women--advocated altering Indian gender roles to reflect Euro-American values and behavior. Indeed, they saw this transformation as the basis of Indian "progress." Ironically, this agenda generated numerous civil service jobs for white and assimilated Indian women who carried the vision to schools and homes. Thus, women professionals in the dominant culture found employment in the Indian Service as advocates of a conventional role for Indian women--economically dependent homemaker. The documents in this project reveal that gender not only provided a focus for assimilationist activities, but also played a major role in the creation of Indian policy.

Nancy C. Unger shows that beginning in 1913, progressive reformer Belle Case La Follette wrote a series of articles for the "women's page" of her family's magazine, denouncing the sudden racial segregation in several departments of the federal government. Those articles, included in "How Did Belle La Follette Oppose Racial Segregation in Washington, D.C., 1913-1914" reveal progressive efforts to appeal specifically to women to combat injustice, and also demonstrate the ability of women to voice important political opinions prior to suffrage.

The three new Document Based Questions included in this issue, African-American Women in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union , Southern Women in the Anti-Lynching Campaign , and Pacifism vs. Patriotism in Women's Organizations of the 1920s are modeled on the New York State Regents Examinations in United States History and Government. The topics represented by the DBQs can be found in the 11th grade Core Curriculum. These DBQs are designed to simulate the interpretive thinking of historians. They ask real questions that contemporary historians are working on. The documents allow a variety of interpretations and the scaffolding questions allow multiple responses. Students should find the topics interesting and intellectually stimulating.



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