Women’s History #3

Ever hear about Mary Edwards Walker?

Of course you have not for teaching about a tireless worker for women’s rights might turn your daughters gay.

It is a Friday so let us learn something.

Back in the days when women had very few rights Walker was an up and coming leader….

Let’s go to the year 1873….

January 1873, hundreds of women convened at the National Hotel in Washington, D.C. It was the fifth convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association and a 44-year-old Susan B. Anthony had taken the floor. She spoke of unity, forming a national women’s newspaper, and the vote. But few people were paying attention to Anthony. Even suffragist leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton was distracted, verging on annoyed. Because there, just to the side of the podium, an imposing woman stood in pants and a slimming man’s coat, waiting. Her name was Mary Edwards Walker. The first female surgeon in the U.S. Army and a prisoner of war during the Civil War, Walker, who flouted the day’s rigid gender norms, was something of a celebrity. As more and more of the crowd noticed her, they began to murmur and whisper, “she’s here!” But still Walker stood, patiently waiting for Anthony to yield the floor. When Anthony finally did so, Walker launched into a scathing critique of the NWSA, and Stanton and Anthony with it. They had abandoned the cause of dress reform, she said, giving up the fight for women to renounce health-damaging corsets. Anthony and Stanton lacked courage, she said. At a later suffrage convention, Anthony and Stanton called the cops on Walker. After narrowly avoiding arrest, Walker shouted at the pair, “you are not working for the cause, but for yourselves!”

Following the January 1873 convention, Stanton forbid any mention of Walker in the event’s official summary. Stanton and other critics derided Walker as a “she-man” and a “ghoul.” Years later, when Stanton and Anthony wrote the History of Woman Suffrage, they erased Walker and her involvement almost entirely. “They deliberately sought to conceal the queerness of the suffrage movement,” writes historian Wendy Rouse of San José State University. Rouse, who has written a new book on the topic, Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, uncovered many stories like Walker’s. From queer relationships known as Boston marriages to publishing radical newspapers about free love, the women’s suffrage movement was full of individuals “queering the norm,” as Rouse puts it—individuals history consciously deleted. Atlas Obscura spoke with Rouse about these queer suffragists, the female cavalries they led, and why so many of their stories have gone untold.


Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


What Happened To Civics Education?

I have been bitching here on IST about the ignorance the American people have on the subject of civics.

Everyday the news is packed full of incidences that illustrate the extent of the ignorance we have on the subject.

This article touches on this problem and some possible solutions.

The week of March 6 is Civic Learning Week, spearheaded by the civic-education network iCivics and marked by a gathering of civics educators and organizations in Washington, D.C. Not only is civics education a worthy cause — it is a critical one. Our nation depends on thoughtful and active citizenship for its very existence.

In a time when so much of our public discourse focuses on what divides us, it is worth remembering that we are all a part of the American political tradition. Left, right, and center — we would all do well to reflect on the tradition that makes us shareholders in a great, diverse, and idealistic nation, and why we should each do our part to keep this tradition alive through civic education. As a self-governing people, we must promulgate and reinforce the central ideas of America at every level of education and in every community.

Yet we have neglected civic education for a generation or more.

First, the progressive movement of the early 20th century challenged traditional American concepts of self-government. Instead, progressives celebrated the administrative state as a solution to the increasing complexity of society’s problems. Rather than solving problems through representative democracy, progressive leaders delegated problems to bureaucracies, and so there arose a professional expert class of civil servants. The knowledge of governing increasingly became a matter for specialized expertise.

Second, in the wake of these progressive innovations, schools lumped much of what was once known as civics and history under the heading of “social studies.” In the classroom, current events and issues often became more important than a deep understanding of our institutions, history, and national creed.

And third, in our haste to make students economically competent, we often overlooked the need for competence in the work of citizenship. In recent years, science, technology, engineering, and math have crowded out other subjects, including civics and history.

How We Lost Our Civics Education — and How We Can Get It Back

I feel without a knowledge of civics our whole system of government is doomed….but that is just me.

30 years ago the stage was set in stone for this wave of stupid…..

“There is a religious war going on in this country,” declared Pat Buchanan at the Republican National Convention in August 1993.   In the impassioned, game-changing speech he added, “It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.”

With that speech, Buchanan launched the current round of the culture wars three decades ago. Today, white Christian conservatism has matured into a unified religious, political and social movement exercising power at both the federal and state levels.

And “the soul of America”?  This question is, once again, being fought over.  Among those battling over the definition of America in the 21st century is those who can best identified as the new Last Ditchers.

The New “Last Ditchers”

We need to be very vigil or our beloved system will become as the dodo….and without a good knowledge of civics can save us from ourselves.


I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”