For the Many
For the Many presents an inspiring look at how US women and their global allies pushed the nation and the world toward justice and greater equality for all. Reclaiming social democracy as one of the central threads of American feminism, Dorothy Sue Cobble offers a bold rewriting of twentieth-century feminist history and documents how forces, peoples, and ideas worldwide shaped American politics. Cobble follows egalitarian women’s activism from the explosion of democracy movements before World War I to the establishment of the New Deal, through the upheavals in rights and social citizenship at midcentury, to the reassertion of conservatism and the revival of female-led movements today.
Cobble brings to life the women who crossed borders of class, race, and nation to build grassroots campaigns, found international institutions, and enact policies dedicated to raising standards of life for everyone. Readers encounter famous figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, and Mary McLeod Bethune, together with less well-known leaders, such as Rose Schneiderman, Maida Springer Kemp, and Esther Peterson. Multiple generations partnered to expand social and economic rights, and despite setbacks, the fight for the many persists, as twenty-first-century activists urgently demand a more caring, inclusive world.
Putting women at the center of US political history, For the Many reveals the powerful currents of democratic equality that spurred American feminists to seek a better life for all.
"The wide-ranging research that underpins this new history of American feminism is impressive, and its passion and perspective are refreshing."
—Marilyn Lake, author of Progressive New World
"Only Dorothy Sue Cobble could have written For the Many with such keen sensitivity and historical insight. Covering a large swath of twentieth-century history, this masterful synthesis of existing literature and new research captures the resilience and persistence of the battle for social democratic values in ways that speak powerfully to us today."
—Susan Ware, author of Why They Marched
"This indispensable book deftly charts the collective biography of a vast, cosmopolitan, and multigenerational network of ‘full rights’ feminist activists, many with labor movement roots, over the long twentieth century. Dorothy Sue Cobble shows that on both the national and global stage, these individuals laid the groundwork for today’s gender, race, and class justice movements."
―Ruth Milkman, author of On Gender, Labor, and Inequality