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TTC - 12 Women Who Shaped America_ 1619 to 1920


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TTC - 12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920
MP4 | Video: h264, 1280x720 | Audio: AAC, 44.1 KHz, 2 Ch
Genre: eLearning | Language: English | Duration: 12 Lessons (5h 37m) | Size: 4.62 GB

History all too often overlooks the invaluable contributions of women, and US history is certainly no exception to this pattern. Museums, documentaries, historical sites, and even textbooks omit essential parts of the whole picture because they leave out her story. Join historian Professor Allison K. Lange, of the Wentworth Institute of Technology, as she guides you through the fascinating lives of 12 early Americans, all of them women, and all of them crucial to a better understanding of American history. With a deft talent for bringing history to life, Allison explores the complex and often controversial lives of these American women who dedicated themselves to living beyond the constraints of their time and place.

In the eye-opening lectures of 12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920, you will meet a dozen influential women with astonishing life stories, each of whom found a way to break away from the constrictive social and familial norms of their day. A popular adage says that "well-behaved women seldom make history," and that is true. From the earliest days of the Republic through much of the early 20th century, American women were expected to lead private lives of modesty and obedience. Although some of the women explored in this course valued the more traditional feminine roles expected of them, none of these women allowed those expectations to limit their lives or their ambitions. If they had, not only would we not know their stories, but the history of the United States would have been quite different.

Breaking from Tradition

The education of women has not been a priority for much of history. The United States was no exception in the early 19th century, when Catharine Beecher advocated for female education, but she was indeed exceptional. Beecher devoted herself to gaining equal access to education for women, as she saw this access to knowledge as an opportunity to ensure their success as wives and mothers, and as the primary educators of children. Despite her devotion to tradition, she remained unmarried and without children, which allowed her to focus on writing, lecturing, and opening schools for women.

And then there were women like poet Phillis Wheatly Peters and photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston, who led wildly unconventional lives as artists, as well as women like Isabella Stewart Gardner, who collected art from all over the world and founded a museum to make it accessible to Americans.

Traverse the fascinating history of the controversial Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for the office of President of the United States. She was well-known for resisting traditional women's roles in nearly every aspect of her life. Often donning traditional masculine attire-even sitting for portraits in a top hat and bowtie-Woodhull knew how to push back against the rigid gender expectations of her day. As the first woman stockbroker, newspaper editor, and presidential candidate, she made choices that raised the ire of polite American society, even lending vocal support to the controversial free love movement. She once wrote to her contemporary, Lucretia Mott, "We have had women enough sacrifice to this sentimental, hypocritical prating about purity. This is one of man's most effective engines for our division and subjugation." She was unquestionably a woman ahead of her time.

Even the iconic Martha Washington, the first woman to hold the position of First Lady of the United States, lived a life that by all accounts broke away from tradition. A young widow and the mother of young children, then known by her first married name, Martha Custis, she ran Mount Vernon and managed her estate with considerable savvy. When her second husband, George Washington, became the first President of the United States, Martha knew that her choices as First Lady would be important to the women of America. She set out to intentionally represent appropriate and admirable womanhood. Although she was the soul of modesty and accommodation, she enjoyed unprecedented access to many of the most powerful men in the world, and these connections helped her shape early political conventions and facilitate vital political relationships.

And while some women chose to reject the conventional societal limitations of their gender, or to attempt to work within them, others had to face difficult and dangerous circumstances beyond their control. Certain brave women rose to directly challenge oppression by becoming the leaders of social movements. When you delve into the histories of formerly enslaved people such as Mary Church Terrell and Sojourner Truth, you will see how they worked to forge a path forward for all American women, despite often being excluded from the larger women's movements of the time.

An Imperfect Union

Not everyone who fought for the rights of women agreed about the universal need for other human rights. While you will meet many women of color who dedicated themselves to securing the rights of both women and other minorities, that was not always the case for white women in the movement for women's suffrage. Today, most people understand how human rights are interconnected and recognize that supporting the rights of other oppressed peoples moves everyone forward together, but racism and deeply ingrained social biases often undermined this vision of universal human rights in the 19th century and beyond.

Suffragists like Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony worried that any focus outside of the singular mission to gain the vote for women could be a distraction and potentially undermine their cause. They sadly believed that if their movement included women of color, the white communities whose support they needed for suffrage might turn against them-one of many ways deeply held biases in society could turn women against each other and prevent their success as a united coalition fighting the same battle. In some cases, their racial bias was so great that suffragists like Anthony protested the 15th Amendment-which effectively granted Black men the vote-because it didn't include women.

Like any historical figure, each of these women had their flaws as well as their strengths. By examining their failures as well as their successes, you will be able to get a more well-rounded look at the influential but imperfect people who made a major impact on the United States as we know it today. You will also see how the "progress" of history is often much less smooth and straightforward than many simplified narratives would have you believe.

Truth in the Eye of the Beholder

While it is important to view any historical figure within their context, the division between women in the realm of human rights caused more than just conflict during the time of the suffragists. Women of color have been particularly underrepresented throughout history, even when compared to women in a more general sense; their exclusion from the reform movements of the past has carried forward into the historical narratives of the present. And when they are not being excluded or minimized, they are often mythologized, serving as token representatives for their people rather than being discussed as the whole and complex individuals that they were. Too often, our myths about these women tell us more about the status of race relations and American cultural norms than about the lives and work of the women themselves. Luckily, that doesn't have to be all that you know.

Though many of these women were severely limited by their circumstances, each left behind some record of her actual experience. While some of the women featured in 12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920 left only the words of the white men with whom they worked, contemporary women have left us lectures, articles, commentary, even photographs that tell their stories more fully. Allison explores the real lives of these and other influential women of color in American history, including Sacagawea, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman.

Many of the women whose lives and contributions you will uncover in this course were advocates of what we would call "respectability politics" today. Women like Mary Church Terrell believed that if they presented themselves as refined and respectable in every other way, their ideas espousing gender and racial equity might be seen in the most favorable possible light by people in power. This type of political presentation did not directly change laws, but many women knew how to use their images in the service of civil rights activism. Numerous Black reformers were especially cognizant of how to use social bias in their own favor to gain the trust of those who would otherwise look down on them.

Little-Known Contemporaries

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of 12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920 is the inclusion of contemporaries of the famous figures we may already recognize. While Allison covers the lives and work of very famous women of the era, like Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman, she also includes lesser-known greats such as Mary Church Terrell and Frances Benjamin Johnston.

In each illuminating lesson, Allison shares stories and connections to other women of the era. Learn about Virginia Minor, who attempted to vote in Virginia in 1872. The case that went to the Supreme Court, Minor v. Happersett, determined that voting was not a right of citizenship and so not necessarily a right of female citizens. Discover Lucretia Mott, the Quaker anti-slavery activist that helped coordinate the famous women's rights convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. Meet Ida B. Wells-Barnett, author and anti-lynching activist, and witness her essential friendship with Mary Church Terrell and others in the National Association of Colored Women. These women, and dozens more like them, shouldered the weight of a nation that could not always see their genius.

Lives in Visual Representation

Although each woman in this course has her unique story, the women are united by their belief in the value of women and the importance of using public image to advance new ideas about women's leadership and roles in society. Each woman employed portraiture-first paintings and engravings, and eventually photography-to capture the spirit of who she was and what she represented.

The original images of the women discussed in this course are undeniably fascinating. The ways in which these portraits tell stories, both intentional and unintentional, provide new insights into methods that women could use to help shape their public image. See each woman through her own eyes-how she wanted to be seen by a wider public with preconceived notions about what a woman "should" be-while also getting invaluable context and the perspective of the original audience. Uncover how each of these women sought to secure new rights and opportunities for women across the social and political spectrum and defined her image to her advantage.

These stories, accompanied by a rich trove of historical images, give us unprecedented insight into the lives and careers of the women who shaped America well into the 20th century. Get an invaluable glimpse into the critical intersection of culture, politics, public image, and the fight for gender and racial equality, which will in turn give you a new and broader understanding of influential women in early American history.

What Will You Learn?

Learn about the lives and the impact of some of the most influential-and sometimes controversial-women in US history

Consider the intersection of race, gender, and politics in early America as you examine the lives of 12 women who shaped US history

Expose the controversial ideas, disappointing limitations, and brilliant strategy and vision of early reformers

Understand relationships among women and across generations that finally won the respect of a nation
See the actual portraits and photographs of women reformers, famous and infamous

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