Jane Addams: An American Social Activist

Published: 2021-09-01 06:05:11
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Category: Biographies

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Cultural feminist, American reformer, peace activist, social worker, Jane Addams dedicated her life to helping to shape better lives for those less fortunate than herself. Though Jane Addams is best remembered as co-founder of Hull House, a settlement house for immigrants, she was also an out-spoken advocate for civil rights, opposition of child labor abuse, women's rights, and the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Addams was born September 6, 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois. She had five brothers and sisters. Jane was two when her mother died, and she gained two additional step-brothers when her father later remarried. By most accounts, Jane and her blended family were close. Her father, a successful miller and local political leader, served sixteen years as a state senator, fought in the Civil War, and shared a mutually respectful friendship with Abraham Lincoln. Jane's devotion, and admiration, for her father motivated courageous contributions to society.
After graduating from Rockford Seminary for Women in 1881, Jane wanted to attend medical school, but her parents strongly disapproved. Her father and stepmother supported her decision to attend college, but felt it was time to focus on becoming a wife and mother. Jane had no interest in the traditional roles of womanhood. She became despondent over the reaction of her parents. Her brothers had careers in medicine and science, and Jane believed she should have the same opportunity. Having a husband and children did not appeal to her.

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