After graduating from Rockford in 1881 with a collegiate certificate, she still hoped to attend Smith to earn a proper B. A That summer, her father died unexpectedly from a sudden case of appendicitis. Each child inherited roughly $50,000 (equivalent to $1. 21 million today). That fall, Addams, her sister Alice, Lice’s husband Harry, and their stepmother, Anna Hellman Addams, moved to Philadelphia so that the three young people could pursue medical educations. Harry was already trained in medicine and did further studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jane and Alice completed their first year of medical school at the Woman’s Medical College of Philadelphia,butane’s health problems, a spinal operation and a nervous breakdown, prevented her from completing the degree. Meanwhile, Jane Addams gathered inspiration from what she read. Fascinated by the early Christians and Tolstoy book My Religion, she was baptized a Christian in the Escadrille Presbyterian Church, in the summer of 1886. Reading Giuseppe Magazine’s Duties of Man, she began to be inspired by the idea of democracy as a social ideal. Yet she felt confused about her role as a woman.
John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women made her question the social pressures on a woman to marry and devote her life to family. In the summer of 1887, Addams read in a magazine about the new idea of starting a settlement house. She decided to visit the world’s first, Toynbee Hall, in London. She and several friends, including Ellen Gates Starr, traveled in Europe from December 1887 through the summer of 1888. After watching a bullfight in Madrid, fascinated by what she saw as an exotic tradition, Addams condemned this fascination and her inability to feel outraged at the suffering f the horses and bulls.
At first, Addams told no one about her dream to start a settlement house; but, she felt increasingly guilty for not acting on her dream. ] Believing that sharing her dream might help her to act on it, she told Ellen Gates Starr. Starr loved the idea and agreed to join Addams in starting a settlement house. Addams and another friend traveled to London without Starr, who was tied up. Visiting Toynbee Hall, Addams was enchanted. She described it as “a community of University men who live there, have their recreation clubs and society all among the poor people, yet, in the same style n which they would live in their own circle.
It is so free of ‘professional doing good,’ so unaffectedly sincere and so productive of good results in its classes and libraries that it seems perfectly ideal. ” Addams dream of the classes mingling socially to mutual benefit, as they had in early Christian circles seemed embodied in the new type of institution. She helped turn the IIS to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places o live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so.
Women: Addams and her colleagues originally intended Hull House as a transmission device to bring the values of the college-educated high culture to the masses, including the Efficiency Movement. However, over time, the focus changed from bringing art and culture to the neighborhood (as evidenced in the construction of the Butler Building) to responding to the needs of the community by providing child care, educational opportunities, and large meeting spaces.
Hull-House became more than a proving ground for the new enervation of college-educated, professional women: it also became part of the community in which it was founded, and its development reveals a shared history. Addams called on women-especially middle class women with leisure and energy, as well as rich philanthropists-to exercise their civic duty to become involved in municipal affairs as a matter of “civic housekeeping. ” Addams thereby enlarged the concept of civic duty as part of republicanism to include roles for women beyond republican motherhood (which involved child rearing).
Women’s lives revolved around “responsibility, care, and obligation,” and this area represented the source of women’s power. This notion provided the foundation for the municipal or civil housekeeping role that Addams defined, and gave added weight to the women’s suffrage movement that Addams supported. Addams argued that women, as opposed to men, were trained in the delicate matters of human welfare and needed to build upon their traditional roles of housekeeping to be civic housekeepers.
Enlarged housekeeping duties involved reform efforts regarding poisonous sewage, impure milk (which often carried tuberculosis), smoke-laden air, and unsafe factory conditions. Addams led the “garbage wars”; in 1 894 she became the first woman appointed as sanitary inspector of Chicago 19th Ward. With the help of the Hull-House Women’s Club, within a year over 1000 health department violations were reported to city council and garbage collection reduced death and disease.
Addams had long discussions with philosopher John Dewey in which they redefined democracy in terms of pragmatism and civic activism, with an emphasis more on duty and less on rights. The two leading perspectives that distinguished Addams and her coalition from the modernizer more unconcerned with efficiency were the need to extend to social and economic life the democratic structures and practices that had been limited to the political sphere, as in Addams’ programmatic support of trade unions; and second, their call for a new social ethic to supplant the individualist outlook as being no longer adequate in modern society.
Addams’ construction of womanhood involved daughters, sexuality, whooped, and motherhood. In both of her autobiographical volumes, Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910) and The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House (1930), Addams gender constructions parallel he Progressive-Era ideology she championed. In A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (1912) she dissected the social pathology of sex slavery, prostitution and other sexual behaviors among working class women in American industrial centers during 1890-1910.
Addams autobiographical persona manifests her ideology and supports her popularized public activist persona as the “Mother of Social Work,” in the sense that she represents herself as a celibate matron, who served the suffering immigrant masses through Hull-House, as if they were her own children. Although not a mother resell, Addams became the “mother to the nation,” identified with motherhood in the sense of protective care of her people. She argued that the men who were voting were looking past the issues involving women and children.
She said that for women should keep doing their job of keeping their houses clean and caring for their children and soon they would have a voice with regard to the public affairs that were right outside their door. The filth in the streets where their children played and the decaying and rotting fruit sold at neighborhood stands were some of the issues they wished to address. If women had the right to vote they would be able to pull for the issues that men seemed to overlook. In 1 920 her dream came true. The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was passed.
Children: Addams at Hull House stressed the role of children in the Americanization process of new immigrants, and fostered the play movement and the research and service fields of leisure, youth, and human services. Addams argued in The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909) that play and recreation programs are needed because cities are destroying the spirit Of youth. Hull-House featured multiple programs in art and drama, kindergarten classes, boys’ and girls’ clubs, language classes, reading groups, college extension courses, along with public baths, a free-speech atmosphere, a gymnasium, a labor museum and playground.
They were all designed to foster democratic cooperation and collective action and downplay individualism. She helped pass the first model tenement code and the first factory laws. Addams felt that our children are our greatest resources. They are our future. Most people who were out looking to make money quickly did not care who hey hired to work in their factories as long as the job got done cheaply. Peace: Addams spoke and campaigned extensively for Theodore Roosevelt 1912 Presidential campaign on the ‘Progressive’ party. She signed up on the party platform, even though it called for building more battleships.
In 1 898 Addams joined the Anti-alienists League, in opposition to the U. S. Annexation of the Philippines. In 1915, she became involved in the Woman’s Peace party and was elected national chairman. Addams was elected president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 191 5, a position that entailed frequent travel to Europe (during and after World War l) and Asia. With this she also attended the International Woman’s Conference in The Hogue and was chosen to head the commission to find an end to the war.
This included meeting ten leaders in neutral countries as well as those at war to discuss mediation. This was the first significant international effort against the war. Addams along with co-delegates Emily Belch and Alice Hamilton documented their experiences of this period and was published as a book Women at The Hogue (University of Illinois). In 1 917, she became also ember Of the Fellowship Of Reconciliation USA (American branch Of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation founded in 191 9) and was a member of the Fellowship Council until 1933.
When the US joined the war, in 191 7, Addams started to be strongly criticized. She faced increasingly harsh rebukes and criticism as a pacifist. Her 191 5 speech on pacifism at Carnegie Hall received negative coverage by newspapers such as the New York Times, which branded her as unpatriotic. Later, during her travels, she would spend time meeting with a wide variety of diplomats and civic leaders and iterating her Victorian belief in women’s special mission to preserve peace.