Jane Addams and the Progressive Movement Essay

Jane Addams and the Progressive Movement Essay

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Jane Addams and the Progressive Movement
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Jane Addams is recognized as a social and political pioneer for women in America. In her biography, which later revealed her experiences in Hull House, she demonstrates her altruistic personality, which nurtured the poor and pushed for social reforms. Although many of Addams ideas were considered radical for her time, she provided women with a socially acceptable way to participate in both political and social change. She defied the prototypical middle class women by integrating the line that separated private and political life. Within these walls of the settlement house, Addams redefined the idea of ?separate spheres,? and with relentless determination, she separated herself from the domestic chores that woman were confined to during the later half of the nineteenth century which led to the twentieth one.

During the late nineteenth century, the notion of ?separate spheres? dictated that the women?s world was limited to the home, taking care of domestic concerns. Women were considered to be in the private sphere of society. Men on the other hand were assigned the role of the public sphere, consisting in the participation of politics, law and economics. Women in the meantime were to preserve religious and moral ideals within the home, placing children on the proper path while applying valuable influence on men. The idea was that the typical middle class woman would teach children middle class values so that they too will enjoy the luxuries and benefits in the future that the middle class has to offer (Lecture, 10/17).

One can argue that Jane Addams did comply with the ideal middle class women, that she remained in ?her sphere? of society. This can mos...


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...the stereotypical idea of the man as the provider and leader of the typical home, women were free to run their lives as they felt, and not as society entailed them to do. It provided women experience in life that reached over to the public realm. The ?separate spheres? did not exist in Addams world; her progressive stance enabled many workers to benefit. Addams envisioned a world that did not discriminate based on one?s gender, and her commitment into the ?public realm? had tremendous impact. Child labor ceased, women won the eight-hour workday, and everyone enjoyed more benefits and improved working conditions. Jane Addams established the path for future women to take as well, which led to women?s suffrage, and eventually equal pay and mutual respect. She was not your typical middle class woman; she was a reformer that changed the way America functioned forever.

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