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Jane Addams: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies)

By continuing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Please set a username for yourself. People will see it as Author Name with your public flash cards. Finding a Career During a long convalescence Addams fell into a deep depression, partly because of her affliction but also because of her sensitivity to the lot of women of her station in 19th-century America. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Copyright The Gale Group, Inc.

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Privacy Details. Like most of her published work, it too was cast in evolutionary terms, making the argument that in the early days of mankind fighting had been the only way to resolve disputes, but that now humanity had evolved to a higher point, enabling it to replace physical force with moral suasion.

As she said, any community unable to settle its domestic differences without resort to arms ought to regard itself with shame. The same was all the more true with international communities. She regarded the multiethnic community around Hull House as a microcosm of the world, a miniature form of "united nations" which, she argued, lived at peace by the exercise of reason and good will.

Her voice of sane reasonableness saturated the book. She spoke the same theme on a hundred public platforms and often quoted Leo Tolstoy's My Religion, treating it as an inspirational text for her Hull House work as well as her pacifism. Despite its confident rhetoric and influential patrons, the peace movement was powerless to prevent the European descent into war in , and Addams found, three years later, that it was equally ineffective in trying to keep America out of the conflict.

Finding a Career

By then, she had accepted the post of chair for the Women's Peace Party and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and on their behalf had voyaged to a conference in the Netherlands and to visit the British and German prime ministers, begging them unsuccessfully to submit the war to arbitration. Though, to her, the ghastly massacres of the war in France seemed shocking evidence of an evolutionary malfunction, she stayed active in the International League throughout the s the basis for her Nobel Peace Prize. In the Red Scare that followed the First World War, some superpatriots denounced Addams for her reluctance to oppose national enemies by force and dismissed all her reform plans as evidence of "Bolshevism.

Michell Palmer ordered the arbitrary arrest and deportation of many suspected radicals. In newspaper features year after year [Jane Addams] was voted the greatest woman in the United States , the greatest in the world, and, on one occasion, the greatest in history. By the s, Hull House had become a vast complex of buildings, second in size only to the University of Chicago , involved in a wide variety of reform projects but still with children's welfare near the center of them all. Addams, a national and international celebrity, traveled widely, usually with her best friend Mary Smith, to give talks about her work throughout America and Europe, sometimes facing hostile crowds because of her peace work, but gradually gaining a more benevolent reception as the postwar mood dissipated.

In with Alice Hamilton , another longtime friend and volunteer, Addams and Smith traveled around the world, giving speeches everywhere and advocating international cooperation. Addams had been dismayed by the American decision not to join the League of Nations : in her view, foreign entanglement was now the best way to prevent wars, whatever wisdom to the contrary George Washington had suggested in his Farewell Address. Addams suffered from a heart condition in the latter part of her life but remained an active writer, working on the biography of her old friend Julia Lathrop. Jane Addams died of cancer on May 21, , and was laid to rest at a ceremonious Chicago funeral.

Summing up her influence, historian Daniel Levine argued: "Jane Addams was not an original thinker of major importance. One can find predecessors for almost every one of her ideas in the writings of the English Fabians, German political economists, American pragmatists. Her importance was not as a manufacturer of ideas, but as their retailer…. In no one area did she possess enormous expertise; yet probably no reformer was so deeply involved in so many facets of reform.

Davis, Allen Freeman. NY: Oxford University Press, Farrell, John C. Beloved Lady.

Jane Addams : a biography (eBook, ) [pertehuftesur.ga]

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Lasch, Christopher. NY: Knopf, Levine, Daniel. Jane Addams and the Liberal Tradition. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. November 22, Retrieved November 22, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Founder and driving force behind Hull-House, the pioneer American settlement house , Jane Addams is best known for her contribution to urban social service; however, she was also an important and influential educator who espoused Progressive educational ideas and practice. Born in the small northern Illinois village of Cedarville, Addams was deeply influenced by her father, John Huy Addams, a successful self-made businessman and a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln , with a dedication to public service.


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Although her father was wealthy, Addams found a genuinely democratic community in Cedarville, where members of different classes mingled freely — an ideal that she would strive for in her adult career. As a child, she steeped herself in literary classics and she was a highly successful student at Rockford Seminary.

Like others of this first generation of college women she was, as her biographer Allen F. Davis points out, "self consciously a feminist, not so much concerned with women's suffrage as women's role in the world" p. Discovering her own role after graduation did not come easily. She suffered a long period of illness, partly physical and partly psychological. Her depression was exacerbated by the sudden death of her beloved father. She briefly attended medical school but dropped out because of illness. For eight years Addams searched for an appropriate career. Two trips to Europe were influential in her search.

In London she was shocked by the poverty she observed and deeply impressed by Toynbee Hall, England 's first settlement house. In Germany she was stunned by the tasks of working women she observed. Her new observations led her to question her own education. She was convinced that an adequate education should not be "disconnected from the ultimate test of the conduct it inspired" p. This was to be the philosophy of education that inspired the rest of her career. By Addams had discovered her true role when she, with her friend Ellen Gates Starr, founded Hull-House in an impoverished section of Chicago that was home to many immigrants.

Hull-House was, from its very beginning, dedicated to education.


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One of its first activities was a nursery school. Addams pursued not only the education of her poor neighbors; an important role of this new institution was the education of the middle-class women who resided within the house. In her influential essay, "The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements ," she argues that the function of social settlements is to extend democracy beyond the political democracy envisioned by the founding fathers into a form of social democracy. Working with the poor, middle-class men and women could connect with the vitality of working people while, at the same time, sharing their knowledge and culture with others.

Jane Addams

She saw Hull-House as a place "in which young women who had been given over too exclusively to study might restore a balance of activity along traditional lines and learn of life from life itself … " , p. Hull-House, like other settlements, was an educational institution that protests "against a restricted view of education.

John Dewey was a trustee and a frequent visitor at Hull-House. He credited conversations with Addams as highly influential in developing his own philosophy of education.