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date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The women’s movement of the nineteenth century emerged within a context of proliferating civic organizations making demands on the American state. This chapter considers how this era of activism shaped the development of social movements for women’s rights and policy demands, arguing that social identities were influential determinants of the paths that women’s activism took through a web of organizational possibilities. The chapter first discusses how membership, organizational structure, and repertoires of activism were produced by the layers of identities and organizations from which they were built. It then turns to how coalitional strategies emerged, including the importance of bridge actors across layers of interest organizations. Finally, it highlights how the varied policy outcomes of women’s activism across both time and states within the layered era have enabled conditional explanations of activism’s effectiveness, including new understandings of when gender worked as a constraint and when it facilitated success.

Keywords: women’s movement, nineteenth century, coalitions, social movements, gender, activism, suffrage

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