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.