By Brooke Orr Speer
The ‘People’s Joan of Arc’: Mary Elizabeth rent, Gendered Politics and Populist occasion Politics in Gilded-Age America is the 1st finished biography tracing the appealing lifetime of well known activist Mary Elizabeth rent. whereas rent is so much remembered in American heritage textbooks because the radical chief of the Populist get together who directed determined farmers «to bring up much less corn and extra hell», her effect and involvement within the late-nineteenth-century women’s suffrage circulate and early-twentieth-century feminist stream position her on par with luminaries corresponding to Susan B. Anthony. Lease’s tale stretches from the yankee Civil battle to the good melancholy and especially illustrates how gender conventions and the comparable complexities of sophistication and ethnic id have traditionally formed American politics. the various matches rent wore, together with housewife, instructor, legal professional, women’s rights activist, temperance suggest, Populist social gathering orator, Knights of work activist, Irish Nationalist, Socialist, revolutionary reformer, Republican celebration supporter, and «Bull Moose» crusade employee, mirror and spotlight the criteria fueling America’s reform impulse within the many years framing the flip of the 20 th century and also make her a desirable historic personality. Lease’s political competitors accused her of elevating an excessive amount of «hell», whereas her supporters praised her for translating their experience of societal and financial disempowerment into concrete, proactive political activities. Mary Elizabeth rent used to be a heroine to her supporters and a perilous, unfeminine demagogue to her rivals. both manner, she used to be definitely the most fascinating figures of her time.
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Additional info for The ’People’s Joan of Arc’: Mary Elizabeth Lease, Gendered Politics and Populist Party Politics in Gilded-Age America
Mary Lease and Kansas farmers could accept yearly crop-yield fluctuations based on unpredictable weather conditions, but vacillations in crop prices that could be influenced or controlled by federal or state policies angered them. 2 Failed farmers like Lease confronted an economic crossroads of sorts following the Civil War with the rapid decline of family farming everywhere. The rise of sharecropping in the South and the industrial revolution and big business capitalism in the East meant that agricultural revenue increasingly went into fewer hands.
1 The agricultural bust in Kansas accelerated in 1888 when drought, dust storms, heat, cyclones, and successive blizzards destroyed crops and land values collapsed. Eastern investors thereafter cut the flow of credit to the West by calling in their loans during these successive economic slowdowns. Mary Lease and Kansas farmers could accept yearly crop-yield fluctuations based on unpredictable weather conditions, but vacillations in crop prices that could be influenced or controlled by federal or state policies angered them.
Midwestern farmers went into debt to buy needed farm equipment, but, at the same time, the steady decline of commodity prices further reduced and impaired farmers’ economic circumstances.
The ’People’s Joan of Arc’: Mary Elizabeth Lease, Gendered Politics and Populist Party Politics in Gilded-Age America by Brooke Orr Speer