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By Jill Greenlee

American political activists and applicants have used motherhood to rally women’s curiosity, aid, and participation all through American historical past. Jill S. Greenlee investigates the advanced courting among motherhood and women’s political attitudes. Combining a old assessment of the methods motherhood has been used for political reasons with fresh political opinion surveys and individual-level research, she explains how and whilst motherhood shapes women’s strategies and personal tastes. Greenlee argues that mechanisms account for the sturdiness of motherhood politics. First, ladies adventure attitudinal shifts once they develop into moms. moment, “mother” is a broad-based id, broadly shared and ideologically unconstrained, that lends itself to appeals around the political spectrum to construct aid for applicants and coverage concerns.

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The Democratic National Committee chairman articulated that idea in an appeal to female voters to cast their ballot for Smith. A particular appeal is being directed this year by both parties to the women. The Democrats are basing their appeal on the social welfare record of Gov. Smith. His accomplishments in behalf of women in industry, in the fields and in the homes, the mothers and future mothers of our people, testify to his sincere regard for the home. (Wilson, Washington Post, September 9, 1928) But the Smith campaign’s clearest use of motherhood was invoked when discussing Prohibition.

You want to be sure that when your daughters start out to earn their living, their health will be protected, their wages will be living wages, and they will have fair chances for advancement in their work. (Willkie, November 4, 1940b) Willkie went on to speak about political issues without reference to children or mothers. Yet in both addresses to female audiences, he began his speeches with references to familial responsibility and motherhood, using them as a reference point for how women conceive of public policy problems.

One Hoover organizer of women’s activities in the Hoover campaign said that women and women’s organizations were particularly interested in the 15-­nation treaty proposed to renounce war, and saw it as a pact to eliminate hatred and mistrust (New York Times, September 2, 1928). Hoover used this popular position to mobilize women. Their support for Hoover was cast in terms of a woman’s place within the family. Herbert Hoover organized and directed the greatest peace army in history—­an army in which the women of 14,000,000 families were enlisted for the benefit of mankind.

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