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Jeannette Rankin, America's Conscience

Norma Smith, Kathryn Anderson (Introduction by)


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Social worker, suffragist, first woman elected to the United States Congress, a lifelong peace activist, and a tireless advocate for political reform, Jeannette Rankin is often remembered as the woman who voted "No." Elected to Congress from Montana on the eve of the United States' entry into World War I, Rankin cast her first vote the first vote cast in the House of Representatives by any woman against the declaration of war against Germany. Reelected to Congress in 1940, she repeated her vote, becoming the only member of Congress to vote against the United States' involvement in World War II. Born in Montana in 1880, Jeannette Rankin's life of activism spanned much of the twentieth century. A "first-wave" feminist who campaigned for women's suffrage, she became a heroine to "second-wave" feminists in the 1960s and a living testament to the achievements of their foremothers. A peace advocate during and after World War I, she lead the Jeannette Rankin Brigade during the March on Washington in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. A woman who lived her conscience, Jeannette Rankin became America's conscience through her unflagging campaigns for children's protective legislation, women's rights, election reform, and most of all, peace. Rankin's determined voice shines in this biography, written by her friend, Norma Smith, who paints a convincing portrait of a complicated activist based on interviews with Rankin in the 1960s.

Montana Historical Society Press, 9780917298790, 240pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 2002