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books about Becoming Citizens
Becoming Citizens in the Age of Television: How Americans Challenged the Media and Seized Political Initiative during the Iran-Contra Debate
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Library of Congress E876.T465 1996 | Dewey Decimal 973.927
An inspired, original argument about the nature of democracy in American society, Becoming Citizens in the Age of Television explores a political process out of touch with everyday needs and concerns of citizens. Instead of focusing on polls and election results, historian David Thelen listens to Americans through their calls and letters to congressmen in which citizens define for themselves the issues they want to raise and the ways they want to be seen and heard.
Thelen argues that the self-referential world of politics and journalism during elections excludes the concerns and voices of Americans, resulting in lower voter turnouts and increased voter apathy. Televised hearings and trials, however—from O. J. Simpson to Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas to Oliver North and Iran-Contra—have ignited storms of controversy and public debate. Focusing upon the spontaneous, unmediated reactions of American citizens to these events, Thelen discovers a new kind of political participation in which Americans shape their interventions.
Through an analysis of a remarkable documentary collection—the correspondence sent by citizens to the House Select Committee on Iran-Contra in the wake of the Oliver North testimony—Thelen explains how Americans are reclaiming the political process. Examining more than 5,000 letters and telegrams, Thelen uncovers the anger and resolve of a vocal public insulted by the media and opinion-managers who have misrepresented them as mindless supporters of "Olliemania."
Concluding with suggestions on how citizens can reclaim their voice from the opinion managing industries, this work promises to provoke the kind of public discourse on which democracy depends.
Becoming Citizens: The Emergence and Development of the California Women's Movement, 1880-1911
University of Illinois Press, 2000
Library of Congress HQ1438.C2G85 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.4209794
In 1880, Californians believed a woman safeguarded the Republic by maintaining a morally sound home. Scarcely forty years later, women in the state won full-fledged citizenship and voting rights by stepping outside the home to engage in robust activism.
Gayle Gullett reveals how this enormous transformation came about and the ways women's search for a larger public life led to a flourishing women's movement in California. Though voters rejected women's radical demand for citizenship in 1896, women rebuilt the movement in the early years of the twentieth century and forged critical bonds between activist women and the men involved in the urban Good Government movement. This alliance formed the basis of progressivism, with male Progressives helping to legitimize women's new public work by supporting their civic campaigns, appointing women to public office, and placing a suffrage referendum before the male electorate in 1911.
Placing local developments in a national context, Becoming Citizens illuminates the links between women's reform movements and progressivism in the American West.