No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

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No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies Women and the Obligations of Citizenship by Kerber, Linda K., 9780809073849
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  • ISBN: 9780809073849 | 0809073846
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 9/1/1999

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This pioneering study redefines women's history in the United States by focusing on civic obligations rather than rights. Looking closely at thirty telling cases from the pages of American legal history, Kerber's analysis reaches from the Revolution, when married women did not have the same obligation as their husbands to be "patriots," up to the present, when men and women, regardless of their marital status, still have different obligations to serve in the Armed Forces. An original and compelling consideration of American law and culture,No Constitutional Right to Be Ladiesemphasizes the dangers of excluding women from other civic responsibilities as well, such as loyalty oaths and jury duty. Exploring the lives of the plaintiffs, the strategies of the lawyers, and the decisions of the courts, Kerber offers readers a convincing argument for equal treatment under the law. Linda K. Kerberis the May Brodbeck Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Among her books areWomen of the RepublicandToward an Intellectual History of Women. She has served as the president of the Organization of American Historians and the American Studies Association and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Winner of the American Historical Association's Joan Kelly Memorial Prize Winner of the Littleton-Griswold Prize This pioneering study redefines women's history in the United States by focusing on civic obligations rather than rights. Looking closely at thirty telling cases from the pages of American legal history, Kerber's analysis reaches from the Revolution, when married women did not have the same obligation as their husbands to be "patriots," up to the present, when men and women, regardless of their marital status, still have different obligations to serve in the Armed Forces. An original and compelling consideration of American law and culture,No Constitutional Right to Be Ladiesemphasizes the dangers of excluding women from other civic responsibilities as well, such as loyalty oaths and jury duty. Exploring the lives of the plaintiffs, the strategies of the lawyers, and the decisions of the courts, Kerber offers readers a convincing argument for equal treatment under the law. "Combining micronarrative with feminist theorizing, impeccable research with passionate engagement, Linda Kerber reshapes the history of American political development . . . A model study."From the Citation for the AHA's 1999 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize "Brillianta major work."Gerda Lerner "An immensely pleasurable read as well as an important contribution to American legal history . . . The author is too good a storyteller, however, to lay this all out without drama . . . Few have made the case so cogently or entertainingly."Sara L. Mandelbaum,New York Law Journal "A thoughtful book of formidable research and clear prose . . . Kerber weaves broad constitutional and legal history around fascinating case studies [and] makes a powerful case that, on balance, liberation is the trajectory of history."Michael Sherry,The New York Times Book Review "An ambitious exploration of the history and meaning of women's civic obligations . . . A carefully crafted work that tells its complex and persuasive story at many levels. By its focus on the law of civic obligation, it makes an innovative contribution to the study of citizenship as both a legal and political institution in the United States. By following the 'antique legal tradition' of coverture out of the treatises and into the arena of public law, this absorbing book also represents a significant expansion of the legal and social history scholarship of that doctrine in America. Its sweeping survey provides a timeline of the status of women as citizen

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