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Gender Remade
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Book description

Gender Remade explores a little-known experiment in gender equality in Washington Territory in the 1870s and 1880s. Building on path-breaking innovations in marital and civil equality, lawmakers extended a long list of political rights and obligations to both men and women, including the right to serve on juries and hold public office. As the territory moved toward statehood, however, jury duty and constitutional co-sovereignty proved to be particularly controversial; in the end, 'modernization' and national integration brought disastrous losses for women until 1910, when political rights were partially restored. Losses to women's sovereignty were profound and enduring - a finding that points, not to rights and powers, but to constitutionalism and the power of social practice as Americans struggled to establish gender equality. Gender Remade is a significant contribution to the understudied legal history of the American West, especially the role that legal culture played in transitioning from territory to statehood.


‘This is an important book on an elusive topic - one that historians have not yet fully made sense of.'

H. Robert Baker - Georgia State University

‘In this heroically researched and fascinating study of gender ideology, law, and governance in the outlier territory of Washington, Sandra F. VanBurkleo underscores the contrast and interplay between natural law with its universalist assumptions and culturalist defenses for women's suffrage. By focusing on the local arena, she ties opposition to prohibition and temperance to big questions of state building and citizenship under an expanding capitalist economy to produce the most convincing portrait yet of the legal struggle for suffrage. Just as one of her fascinating protagonists, Justice Greene, argued for undivided rights, so VanBurkleo links realms too often studied apart. She shows the interconnection between gender systems and political questions (suffrage, protective labor legislation, married women's property rights and domestic relations law, and constitution making.) Gender Remade is a most important work.'

Eileen Boris - University of California, Santa Barbara

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  • 1 - “We are kings and queens”
    pp 1-20
  • Introduction


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