Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy by Louise W. Knight

By Louise W. Knight

Jane Addams was once the 1st American girl to obtain the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Citizen, Louise W. Knight's masterful biography, reveals Addams's early improvement as a political activist and social philosopher.  In this book we observe a strong mind grappling with the radical rules of her age, so much particularly the ever-changing meanings of democracy.

Citizen covers the 1st half Addams's lifestyles, from 1860 to 1899. Knight recounts how Addams, a toddler of a filthy rich kin in rural northern Illinois, longed for a lifetime of better function. She broadened her horizons via schooling, analyzing, and trip, and, after receiving an inheritance upon her father's loss of life, moved to Chicago in 1889 to co-found Hull condo, the city's first cost residence. Citizen indicates vividly what the payment condo really was—a local heart for schooling and social gatherings—and describes how Addams discovered of the abject operating stipulations in American factories, the unchecked energy wielded through employers, the impression of corrupt neighborhood politics on urban companies, and the insupportable limits put on girls via their loss of vote casting rights. those reports, Knight makes transparent, reworked Addams. continually a believer in democracy as an abstraction, Addams got here to appreciate that this nationwide excellent was once additionally a lifestyles philosophy and a mandate for civic activism via all.

As her tale unfolds, Knight astutely captures the enigmatic Addams's compassionate character in addition to her improper human aspect. Written in a robust narrative voice, Citizen is an insightful portrait of the adolescence of a very good American leader.

“Knight’s selection to target Addams’s early years is a stroke of genius. we all know greatly approximately Jane Addams the general public determine. we all know quite little approximately how she made the transition from the nineteenth century to the 20 th. In Knight’s e-book, Jane Addams involves lifestyles. . . . Citizen is written neither to earn cash nor to realize educational tenure; it's a reward, intended to enlighten and enhance. Jane Addams could have understood.”—Alan Wolfe, New York occasions booklet Review

“My purely grievance in regards to the ebook is that there wasn’t extra of it. . . .  Knight honors Addams as an American original.”—Kathleen Dalton, Chicago Tribune

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Aged sixty-two in 1844, he had wealth enough to retire comfortably. But his passion for making money was strong. His plan, events would reveal, was to send his seventh child and third son, John, to the area of northern Illinois where the Reitzels and Flickingers had settled. 14 He would give John enough cash for the down payment on a flour mill and come west himself to visit some months later and bring the rest of the money; perhaps he even considered moving himself and his wife there. Grain milling was an obvious choice for John’s trade.

She was in the eighth month of her sixth pregnancy when John left Cedarville in January 1855 to serve his first term, and she gave birth on the last day of the session to a son who only lived two months. She was in the seventh and eighth months of her seventh pregnancy during the 1857 term, and the son who was born that spring lived only two years. 69 In January 1863, when John left for Springfield to serve his sixth term, she was seven months’ pregnant with her ninth child. Neither she nor the child would survive.

Like every child, Jane Addams had a particular childhood whose influence on her would ramify down the years. The way she treats her parents is also hardly typical. Although she writes a good deal in the book’s early chapters about her conversations with her father, she writes nothing at all about her relations with her mother. Her dilemma, in part, was that she had three. In addition to her deceased mother, she had a temporary mother in her oldest sister Mary and, beginning when she was eight, a new permanent mother in her stepmother, Anna Hostetter Haldeman Addams.

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