Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-1935 by Robyn Muncy

By Robyn Muncy

During this e-book, Muncy explains the continuity of white, middle-class, American girl reform task among the innovative period and the hot Deal. She argues that in the revolutionary period, woman reformers equipped an interlocking set of companies that tried to regulate baby welfare coverage. inside this policymaking physique, woman progressives professionalized their values, bureaucratized their equipment, and institutionalized their reforming networks. to consult the organizational constitution embodying those techniques, the publication develops the unique idea of a feminine dominion within the in a different way male empire of policymaking. on the head of this dominion stood the kid's Bureau within the federal division of work. Muncy investigates the improvement of the kingdom and its specific features, corresponding to its monopoly over baby welfare and its dedication to public welfare, and indicates the way it used to be depending on a especially woman professionalism. by means of exploring that technique, this e-book illuminates the connection among professionalization and reform, the origins and that means of revolutionary reform, and the position of gender in developing the yankee welfare kingdom.

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In part, however vaguely, these reform groups were agitating against the centralization of private wealth and power that industrialization was creating, and they envisioned, however hazily, an economy based on cooperative ventures, some large-scale and centered in the federal government, some small-scale and centered in local communities. In these ways, reformers in the Gilded Age sought to preserve democracy itself insofar as democracy meant that people should control their own lives. Seeing that laissez-faire individualism was rendered obsolete by corporations that swallowed individual entrepreneurs and located financial decisions in a small area of New York City, reformers tried to create a new economic basis for democracy in cooperative economic enterprises.

There, Addams read two papers on the meaning of settlement life before a group that included those already active in the settlement 34 Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform movement. The lectures established her unquestioned leadership in the as yet small movement, and the conference itself established a precedent for informal annual meetings of America's settlement workers. 126 Eventually, settlement residents transformed an older organization, the National Conference of Charities and Corrections.

The heralds of efficiency—those social scientists, managers, and businessmen who aimed to rationalize and systematize American life— preached control by experts, created bureaucracies to manage problems, and preferred the sleekness of commissions to the roughness of elections. Both sets of ideals — democracy and efficiency—joined to produce Progressive reform. In fact, the Progressive era might be seen as a beach on which the wave of Gilded Age democratic ideals had broken, surged, and just begun to recede when the wave of efficiency had broken and only begun to surge.

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