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Gender Remade
Citizenship, Suffrage, and Public Power in the New Northwest, 1879–1912


Part of Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society

  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107484085

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Advocates a shift in vantage point for constitutional historians, which will appeal to readers dissatisfied with a purely doctrinal, formal approach to legal history
    • Proposes renewed/expanded interest in the state and constitutionalism among women's historians
    • Moves constitutional historians away from preoccupations with federal/Supreme Court decision making toward constitutionalism in states and territories in the nineteenth century
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107484085
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
    • contains: 9 b/w illus.
    • availability: Not yet published - available from
  • Table of Contents

    1. 'We are kings and queens': introduction
    2. 'She does not go into utter slavery': toward equality and co-sovereignty
    3. 'Equal rights with man in every respect': practicing mixed-sex democracy
    4. 'A compound creature of the statute': jury duty and social disintegration
    5. 'A double head in nature ... is a monstrosity': internecine warfare
    6. 'Fraternalism permeates the atmosphere': remaking gender and public power
    7. 'We contemplate no sweeping reform': constitutionalizing the home vote
    8. 'Every woman is a law unto herself': rights, obligations, and legitimacy
    Afterword: a bibliographic commentary.

  • Author

    Sandra F. VanBurkleo, Wayne State University
    Sandra F. VanBurkleo is Professor of History at Wayne State University, Detroit.

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