Jeannette Bates on ‘A Woman’s Place’

Jeannette Bates on ‘A Woman’s Place’

I was flipping through some older newspapers and saw a suffrage cartoon that gave me the idea of searching for old news items with the phrase “woman’s place is.”

Boy!  There is a lot to pick from.  I will have to revisit this set of documents from time to time, but this item jumped out at me and introduced me to a woman I had never heard of by the name of Jeannette Bates.

It was in the Chicago based The Day Book in 1917:

Jeanette BatesChicago, January 10, 1917: Bosh! It was Jeannette Bates, woman lawyer, just appointed assistant attorney general of Illinois, who “boshed” a smiling “bosh” across a paper-Uttered desk in answer to the question: “Do you agree in the argument that woman will never attain an important place in law?”

Miss Bates has just taken a place
beside Congressman Jeannette Rankin in the political procession.

“Woman’s place is wherever she makes good,” said Miss Bates. “Some women will make good in the court; some in the kitchen.

“I know Clarence Darrow has just said the woman lawyer may not make a living in the law. Well, I know some, men lawyers whose living – made in the law is rather lean.

“Mr. Darrow said, ‘Women are too kind to succeed as corporation lawyers, they cannot fight the soulless trusts.

“But women have fought trusts,” declared Miss Bates. “Ida Tarbell’s heart never weakened her fighting qualities.

“To go back to this matter of making a living in the law. When I was teaching I made $1,200 a year. The first year I practiced law I made more than $1,200. Since I have been practicing I have acquired a comfortable, seven-room bungalow, a garden and chickens.

“As women are gaining more political power,” continued the woman who has the state of Illinois for a client, “the law rather than medicine or teaching is attracting women. We used to be told the ‘legal mind’ was a man monopoly. Women seem to be proving there are no monopolies in the professions.”

via The Day Book, January 9, 1917

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The Case against Child Labor Laws

The Case against Child Labor Laws

In retrospect, many social advances seem like no-brainers.  Slavery?  Yeah, that was wrong. Disenfranchisement of women?  Yeah, wrong again.  Letting little kids work in mines and mills?  Yeah, lets not do that.

However, no matter how simple something seems in hind-sight through the filter of our modern sensibility, there were always people or organizations that opposed the progress we were making as a culture.


Child Labor in the 1900s & 1910s

By the time the 1900 census was tabulated, approximately 2 million children were reported to be working in mills, mines, farms, factories, shops, and on the streets streets of American cities. The 1900 census report helped spark a national movement to end child labor in the United States. To help better illustrate the scale of the problem, the National Child Labor Committee hired the photographer Lewis Hine to criss-cross the country photographing and reporting on the use of child labor in many different industries.

Initially, social reformers condemned child labor because of its detrimental long term effects on the health and welfare of children. One of the most famous individuals helping to drive public opinion was already dead by the beginning of the 20th century.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

The writings of Charles Dickens [1812-187], who had performed factory work himself at age 12, were used to highlight the dangers — both physical and spiritual — of children working instead of attending school. One of the most effective attacks came from his novel Oliver Twist. Widely read in both Britain and the United States, his masterwork portrayed an orphan boy raised in poorhouses and workhouses and by street criminals in industrialized London in the 1850s.

The first successful passage of a child labor bill was the Keating-Owen bill of 1916. Based on Senator Albert J. Beveridge’s proposal from 1906, it employed the government’s ability to regulate interstate commerce as a tool to regulate child labor. Known popularly as the Keating Bill, the law banned the sale of products from any factory, shop, or cannery that employed children under the age of 14. It also outlawed the products of any mine that employed children under the age of 16, and from any facility that had children under the age of 16 work at night or for more than 8 hours during the day.

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11 Quotes I Love from Eleanor Roosevelt

11 Quotes I Love from Eleanor Roosevelt

I believe you should tell the story of injustices, of inequalities, of bad conditions, so that the people as a whole in this country really face the problems that people who are pushed to the point of striking know all about, but others know practically nothing about.

-Eleanor Roosevelt,
CIO Convention, 1943

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…the factory, farm or office where he works…unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
United Nations Remarks, 1953

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In stopping to think through the meaning of what I have learned, there is much that I believe intensely, much I am unsure of. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
Foreword, You Learn by Living

Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
You Learn by Living, p. 41

A respect for the rights of other people to determine their forms of government and their economy will not weaken our democracy. It will inevitably strengthen it. One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
Tomorrow Is Now , p. 45

We must show by our behavior that we believe in equality and justice and that our religion teaches faith and love and charity to our fellow men. Here is where each of us has a job to do that must be done at home, because we can lose the battle on the soil of the United States just as surely as we can lose it in any one of the countries of the world.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
India and the Awakening East (1953), p. 228

Our trouble is that we do not demand enough of the people who represent us. We are responsible for their activities. . . . we must spur them to more imagination and enterprise in making a push into the unknown; we must make clear that we intend to have responsible and courageous leadership.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
Tomorrow is Now, pp. 124-125

No, I have never wanted to be a man. I have often wanted to be more effective as a woman, but I have never felt that trousers would do the trick!

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
If You Ask Me,” Ladies Home Journal (October 1941)

I have waited a while before saying anything about the Un-American Activities Committee’s current investigation of the Hollywood film industry. I would not be very much surprised if some writers or actors or stagehands, or what not, were found to have Communist leanings, but I was surprised to find that, at the start of the inquiry, some of the big producers were so chicken-hearted about speaking up for the freedom of their industry.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
Our Day, October 29, 1947

The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

What counts, in the long run, is not what you read; it is what you sift through your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading. It is the ideas stirred in your own mind, the ideas which are a reflection of your own thinking, which make you an interesting person.

–Eleanor Roosevelt,
You Learn by Living: Eleven
Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

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Trade Unions and Woman Suffrage

Trade Unions and Woman Suffrage

Womens Trade Union LeagueThe Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) began as a collaboration of working class and well-off women that began in 1903 to support the efforts of women to organize labor unions and to eliminate sweatshop conditions.

The WTUL played an important role in supporting many strikes in the first two decades of the 20th century. They also played an important role in establishing the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

The Women’s Trade Union League began to work actively for women’s suffrage. The organization worked in coalition with the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the years before passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

The WTUL saw suffrage as a way to gain protective laws and regulations for women to better provide them with the dignity and other (less tangible) benefits come with political equality.

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