Women vs. Men Historians: Interpretations Term Paper

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Women's History]

WOMEN VS. MEN HISTORIANS: IT'S ALL IN THE INTERPRETATION

In the book Women and the Historical Enterprise in America, Julie Des Jardins researches the American women's involvement in the writing of history from the late nineteenth century through the end of World War II, when this field became very male oriented. Although women were not often taken seriously nor recognized any where near the male historians, they did do their best to explore and cover areas frequently overlooked. The question for this paper is whether or not history would be viewed differently if women played a greater role in recording history. The answer lies in interpretation. History is not just a reiteration of facts. Rather, it is an interpretation of facts based largely on the historian's perceptions and beliefs. The same set of facts can lead different historians to draw different conclusions, provide differing explanations, and even to produce opposing interpretations. It is rare for two historians to write identical accounts of the same events. One cannot even assume, therefore, that someone of the same race, religion or even gender will see the events in the same fashion.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Women vs. Men Historians: Interpretations Assignment

Americans, and humans in general, find it very easy to lump people into categories. Stereotyping and labeling in black and white is simpler than trying to list all the shades of grey in between. Therefore, one hears comments as "they think" (who ever "they" are) and "all blacks." Looking at the feminism or the woman's movement is a good example. There are plenty of women to this day who believe that their place is in the home as wife and mother, not working or trying to be on equal footing with men. In fact, go to any book store and many of these women are writing books that support this belief. Then there are many women who are doing their best to be everything -- mother, wife and bank officer. Also are numerous women who are very career oriented and decide not to get married or not to have children. In addition is every increment in the middle of these categories. Today's books cover all of these women as well.

What if more women either had more opportunity or were more recognized to write about equality between men and women in earlier days? Susan B. Anthony is the name long associated with the right for women to vote. However, there are many other women who pushed this cause whose names have not become well-known. A History of the American Suffragist Movement by Doris Weatherford relates much of the information not known about this topic. For example, in 1637, way before the actual Suffragist Movement, a woman named Anne Hutchinson went against the male leadership and exercised her right to free speech. The theocrats who ran the newly founded colony of Massachusetts tried and convicted her of treason because her religious and feminist ideas did not agree with their strict theology. She was exiled with her 12 children, most of whom were killed by the Algonquins.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson's friend Mary Dyer protested when Hutchinson was excommunicated from their Boston church. Dyer returned to England and converted to the newly founded Society of Friends, or Quakers. Massachusetts and Connecticut passed laws banning Quakers, and Dyer was exiled from both colonies when returning to America. Although she could have remained safely on Long Island, Dyer repeatedly returned to Boston to preach her vision of a loving, egalitarian God. In 1660, the theocracy of Massachusetts hanged her.

Neither Weatherford nor Dyer stories are discussed in general American history, let alone in the school systems. What if women during that time could have written about this event as it was happening? What if they had the same opportunity as men to record and publish events? The story would definitely been covered, since it concerned women of the time. What would have been the interpretation? For some women, and even some men (Consider such men as John Locke and their support of women's issues) it would be written… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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