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Gendered Citizenship

The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920?1963

Rebecca DeWolf

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 10/2021
Pages: 360
Subject: Political Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496228284


By engaging deeply with American legal and political history as well as the increasingly rich material on gender history, Gendered Citizenship illuminates the ideological contours of the original struggle over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from 1920 to 1963. As the first comprehensive, full-length history of that struggle, this study grapples not only with the battle over women's constitutional status but also with the more than forty-year mission to articulate the boundaries of what it means to be an American citizen. Through an examination of an array of primary source materials, Gendered Citizenship contends that the original ERA conflict is best understood as the terrain that allowed Americans to reconceptualize citizenship to correspond with women's changing status after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Finally, Rebecca DeWolf considers the struggle over the ERA in a new light: focusing not on the familiar theme of why the ERA failed to gain enactment, but on how the debates transcended traditional liberal versus conservative disputes in early to mid-twentieth-century America. The conflict, DeWolf reveals, ultimately became the defining narrative for the changing nature of American citizenship in the era. 


Rebecca DeWolf is a writer and a historian with a PhD in American history. Her research has won recognition through grants and fellowships, including the Dirksen Congressional Research Grant. Her articles have appeared in the?Washington Post, Frontiers, and New America Weekly.


"Like the sun peeking through the clouds, Rebecca DeWolf's groundbreaking book clears the fog that has long surrounded the Equal Rights Amendment. . . . Anyone who wants to understand why the ERA is not yet law would be well advised to read this book."?Johanna Neuman, author of Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote ? ? ?

"By tracing the origins of the ERA from the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to 1963, DeWolf offers a deep legal and judicial review of the debate around what constitutes equality under the law and the very nature of citizenship."?Page Harrington, former executive director of the National Woman's Party at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument ?

"Rebecca DeWolf has brought us a meticulously researched and vividly detailed account of the original ERA conflict that provides readers with rich context to trace how the arguments against gender equality of nearly a century ago continue to shape our cultural attitudes about the role and duties of women in the domestic sphere today."?Betsy Fischer Martin, executive director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University