Feminism in America, 1848-1986

Table of Contents

In Essence

Seymour Martin Lipset, in PS
- (Spring 1986), American Political Science Asso-ciation, 1527 New Hampshire Ave. N.W., Wash- ington, D.C. 20036.
Ronald Reagan's popularity remains high. Early in 1986, surveys showed roughly two-thirds of the electorate supporting the president-the highest rating so far accorded to any 20th-century U.S. chief executive during the first quarter of his second term.
Such poll data seem to suggest that most Americans agree with the president's conservative agenda.

S. William Green, in The Journal of the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies (Summer 19861, Air-port Road, White Plains, N.Y. 10604.
"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." So goes the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Like many Americans, Representative Green (D.-N.Y.) frets that the USPS is not as "swift" as it ought to be, despite the efficiencies that followed the Postal...

123 per- cent, compared with 70 percent for other government employees at the same level; a 1982 General-Accounting Office study found that even USPS custodians earned more than double the hourly wages of their private enterprise counterparts. Only in recent months has the Postal Service begun to turn a profit, after record losses of $251 million in 1985; pros- pects for improved service do not seem bright.
Privatization is Green's solution-specifically, allowing private firms to compete in those...

Tom Clark, one of his Democratic appointees. Clark sided with a 1952 majority ruling that Truman's nationalization of steel mills to head off a strike during the Ko- rean War was unconstitutional.
"Packing the Supreme Court simply can't be done," Truman lamented. "I've tried and it won't work."
That 1787 The Electoral College at Philadelphia: The Evolution of an Ad Hoc Congress for the Selec-
Anachronism tion of a President" Shlomo Slonim, in The Journal of American...

granting to them electoral votes equivalent in number to their congressional delega- tions. And, in the event that no presidential candidate won a majority outright, -the decision would fall to the House, where the advantage would go to the most populous states.
Though it was a "Rube Goldberg" device, Slonim says, the college did succeed in reconciling the nationalists and the federalists among the con- vention delegates. Doubts about the result would emerge later, as when Benjamin Harrison...

concludes, is the discovery that "human rights and strategic interests turn out to be consistent far more often than many Americans expect."
Brothers .in S "Success Story: Blacks in the Amy" Charles
C. Moskos, in The Atlantic (May 1986), 8 Ar-lington St., Boston, Mass. 02116.
Once a racial tinderbox, the U.S. armed forces now boast a degree of integration unmatched in civilian society.
So says Moskos, a sociologist at Northwestern. In his opinion, "there is
no question...

executive order in 1948. Throughout the 1950s, integration proceeded apace, especially during the Korean War, when blacks and whites fought in the same Army combat units for the first time. Then came the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Vietnam War, which heightened racial tensions among troops and highlighted remaining anomalies, notably a paucity of commis- sioned blacks. (As late as 1972, only one in 25 Army officers was black, compared with one in 10 today.) Seeing the need for intervention...

the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) reduces the incentives to Egyptian fanners to harvest their own grains. AID projects also tend to siphon off Egypt's top talent, as well as to favor the use of American-made (rather than locally manufactured) machinery and materials. Such facts have led to charges that the United States-creating "production disin- centives" and cultivating dependency-is guilty of exploiting Egypt for its own economic ends.
Weinbaum rejects that notion,...

L. Morse, in Foreign Affairs(Spring 1986), 58 East 68th St., ~ew
York, N.Y. 10021.
As oil prices plummeted, from a record high of $40 per barrel in 1980-81
to less than $12 per barrel this past winter, American motorists-and
Washington economists-celebrated the good news.
But Morse, managing director of the Petroleum Finance Company, sees trouble not far down the road.
For nearly a century the oil market has experienced major price fluc- tuations, cycling from boom to bust and back...

Paul L. Burgess,
Jerry L. Kingston, and Robert D. St. Louis, in
Industrial & Labor Relations Review (April
1986), ComeU University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14851-0952.
Stories about "vacations" funded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are as common as those about welfare-financed Cadillacs.
But are they true?
Yes, suggest Burgess, Kingston, and St. Louis, all economic research- ers at Arizona State University. Many UI recipients have no intention of getting a job until their weekly checks...

William J. Baumol, in The American Economic Review (May 19861, 1313 21st Avenue So., Ste. 809, Nashville, Tenn. 37212-2786.
As masterpiece paintings command ever-higher sums at Manhattan auc- tions, art investment has come to look like a sure-fire way to show off and make a profit.
But Baumol, a Princeton economist, argues that big price tags do not necessarily mean big profits from paintings.
Drawing mainly on Gerald Reitlinger's three-volume compilation of art sales data (The Economics of Taste:...

comparison. Paintings Jan Verrneer (1632-1675) "virtually disappeared from sight for several centuries" be- fore they were resurrected; today they are considered priceless. El Greco (1541-1614) was another modem rediscovery. Works by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), the great Romantic painter, became "an embarrassment to [London's] Tate gallery" earlier this century. Yet today Turner's paintings are "among the most valued items in the museum's collection."
Not that Baumol...

. "Is Welfare Really the Problem?'David T. Ellwood and Lawrence H. Summers, in The Public Interest (Spring 1986), 10 East 53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10022.
Of late, Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty has become a target for conser- vative reformers. The notion that federal efforts to help the poor have undermined their desire to earn a living rapidly gained currency in Wash-ington through Charles Murray's widely quoted Losing Ground (1984) [see WQ, Autumn ,841.
Ellwood and Summers, who teach...

Neil Spitzer, in The Atlantic (June 1986), 8 Arlington St., Bos-ton, Mass. 02116.
In October 1981, Senator Paula Hawkins (R.-Fla.) convened the first con- gressional hearing on missing children. "We simply do not know how many children disappear from their families each year," she said. "The estimates are as high as 1.8 million children per year."
Then the media blitz began: made-for-TV movies, fingerprinting carn- paigns, posters. Staring out from grocery bags and milk cartons,...

a parent (usually in a postdivorce quarrel over custody) account for 626,000 abductions-each year.
Only a small number of children are kidnapped each year strangers. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) annually investigates fewer than 100 such cases. Although some specialists believe the FBI figure is too low, the discrepancy of tens of thousands between the FBI estimate and popular "guesstimates," says Spitzer, deserves more scrutiny.
Spitzer lauds such organizations as the...

two decades a concerted effort to grapple with the problem which Moymhan identified in 1965," Loury concludes. "Surely the nation as a whole will suffer grievously if we refrain from any effort to shape our citizens' values on these matters today."
'Luce, Life, and 'The American Way'" Allan
C. Carlson, in This World (Winter 1986), 1112 16th St. N.W., Ste. 1500, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Most Americans today remember the weekly Life magazine (1936-72) as the 20th century's great...

Time before it went to press.
CBS (Jan. 23, 1982) broadcast a 90-minute Vietnam documentary, widely hailed the U.S. press. CBS purported to reveal a 1967 Saigon "conspiracy," ordered by Westmoreland, to "suppress" intelligence data on enemy manpower, thereby deceiving President Lyndon B. Johnson and easing the way for the Communists' surprise 1968 Tet offensive.
In reality, Adler notes, CBSs conspiracy story was totally wrong, as former LBJ aides told CBS before and after the...

thought, Louis Bourguet (1678-1742), a geologist, classified fossils and crystals along a "scale," starting the Great Chain of Being in the "mineral kingdom." The biologist Charles Bonnet (1720-1793) sought to rank members of the animal kingdom in terms of their deviation from "perfec- tion." Bonnet's universe, Rigotti notes, is "systematic: everything con- tained in it is arranged, related, linked, chained together." G...

Christo-oher Faille. in This World (Smine 1986). 1112 16th St. N.w., Ste. 1500; Washington; D.C. 20036.
In his time, France's Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a phenomenon: a mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and humble recluse who worked through the church to help the poor.
As a scientist, Pascal was responsible for first postulating the existence of vacuums in nature, developing theories of probability, and formulating the physical laws governing pressure.
Yet Faille, an intellectual historian,...

Stephen J.
Cheetahs O'Brien. David E. Wildt. and Mitchell Bush. in
scientific American (M& 1986), 415 adi is on
Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017.
The fastest animal on earth, the cheetah, is now in a race against extinc- tion. Centuries ago, the feline predator-light, long-limbed, and able to overtake fleeing prey at 70 miles per hour-roamed Africa, the Middle East, and India in great numbers. Today, barely 20,000 remain, scattered among a few remote regions of Africa.
In 1981, O'Brien, Wildt,...

Janet Raloff, in Sci-Saving Teeth ence News (Apr. 19, 1986), 1719 N St. N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 10036.
Long known for their readiness to use the drill, dentists have discovered a less painful way to fight tooth decay and strengthen weak teeth: mouth- washes that "remineralize" decayed tooth enamel.
Normally, mineral-rich saliva from glands in the mouth protects teeth from acids secreted plaque-forming bacteria. But when the bacteria's acids dissolve tooth minerals faster than the body...

Janet Raloff, in Sci-Saving Teeth ence News (Apr. 19, 1986), 1719 N St. N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 10036.
Long known for their readiness to use the drill, dentists have discovered a less painful way to fight tooth decay and strengthen weak teeth: mouth- washes that "remineralize" decayed tooth enamel.
Normally, mineral-rich saliva from glands in the mouth protects teeth from acids secreted plaque-forming bacteria. But when the bacteria's acids dissolve tooth minerals faster than the body...

using lenses to bend light, which either passes through or is reflected back the specimen under scrutiny. An electron microscope employs the same principle-except that it uses a beam of-electrons instead of light to create a magnified image. The new STMs utilize a different method altogether: A small probe passes closely over a specimen, senses the contour of the atoms on its surface, and sends the information to a computer, which generates a picture.
Early versions of the STM (as with electron...

Rashid A. Shaikh, in Technol-osy Review (Apr. 1986), Massachusetts Insti- tute of Technology, Bldg. 10, Cambridge, Mass. 02139.
In 1977, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the domestic sale of children's sleepwear treated with Tris, a flame retar- dant; studies had shown that Tris caused cancer. American garment dis- tributors-their warehouses filled with unsalable clothing-cut their losses exporting 2.4 million pairs of the fireproofed pajamas.
Under public pressure, the...

backing the UN Environment Program's pro-
posal to compile a worldwide list of all hazardous export products. Without
U.S. backing, he argues, any UN export safety effort will surely stall.

"A Posthumous Mies: The Case Against" Jo-
seph Rykwert, in Art in America (Apr. 1986),
980 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10021,
At the 1968 opening ceremony of the New National Gallery in Berlin- an austere, glass-faced pavilion perched on a windowless stone base-the museum's dir...

"Missed Moorings" Nicholas Lernann, in The Washington Monthly (Feb. 1986), 1711 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.
Experience provides the raw material of good fiction. It is no accident that many major American novelists had, at some point in their lives, vocations other than writing. Mark Twain and Herman Melville piloted ships. John Steinbeck worked as a farm hand. Ernest Herningway drove an ambulance during World War I.
But what has happened since World War II? wonders...

contrast, White Noise merely furthers the view popular among the nation's literati that "American life is unreal and sterile for the middle class and degrading for the working class."
One reason for such rejection, Lemann suggests, is that even best- selling American novelists do not receive the attention they once did. Forced to compete with television and other media, all but the most popu- lar novels sell fewer and fewer copies each year. As Lemann observes, "a writer who thinks...

William V.
Shannon, in Foreign Affairs(Spring 1986), 58
East 68th St., New York, N.Y. 10021.
On November 15,1985, prime ministers Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Garret FitzGerald of Ireland signed the so-called Anglo-Irish agreement, a pact officially recognizing Dublin as a partner, alongside London, in the governance of Northern Ireland, or Ulster.
Granting the Irish Free State a voice in the administration of Northern Ireland's police force, courts, and prisons, the agreement marked a major...

Michael F. Lofchie, in Current History (May 1986), 3740 Creamery Rd., Furlong, Pa. 18925.
Plagued drought, famine, and political turmoil, the nations of sub-Sahara Africa have dashed the hopes of many Western economists in recent years.
AH except Kenya, that is. Thanks to a strong agrarian economy, writes Lofchie, a political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Kenya is "an African success story.'
Over the last decade, Kenya's agricultural sector has enjoyed an aver-...

Africans, converting it from communal or group ownership to private plots. refusing to subsidize urban nsum-ers with artificially low food prices, Nairobi has provided its farmers with a powerful incentive to increase their output. Export-crop production has nearly doubled since the late 1970s.
The present boom in world coffee prices, owing largely to a drought in Brazil, bodes well for Kenya's economic future. But difficulties loom ahead. While the country's overall gross domestic product has...

presidents Luis Alberto Monge Alvarez (1982-86) and Arias to avoid di- rect conflict with the Sandinistas have not gone over well with the Reagan administration either.
Reding worries'that -Costa Rican democracy may suffer in the long run from the Reagan administration's attempt to use Costa Rica in the struggle against the Sandinistas. In trying to change Costa Rica's antimilitarism, Washington may instead tip its own ally off balance.
"Pakistan: Testing Time for the New Order" William...

public agencies and private institutions

"American Professors: A National Resource Imperiled."
Oxford University Press, 200 Madison Aye., New York, N.Y. 10016. 322 pp. $24.95. Authors: Howard R. Bowen and Jack H. Schuster
American colleges and universities are caught between a rock and a hard place. Not only must they contend with a shrink- ing demographic pool of students, but ac- cording to Bowen and Schuster, professors of economics and public policy, respec- tively, at Claremont Gr...

Book Reviews


, as Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson observed, emerges "only occasionally and for brief moments above the horizon of international news media.'? Yet Finland, with no more people (4.9 million) than the state of Wisconsin, maintains a unique position on the world scene: a prosperous Western democracy living next door to the Soviet Union. To Americans, says Jakobson, this looks like an Indian rope trick: "a clever thing to do, but not quite believable." Here, Keith W. Olson surveys the...

, as Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson observed, emerges "only occasionally and for brief moments above the horizon of international news media.'? Yet Finland, with no more people (4.9 million) than the state of Wisconsin, maintains a unique position on the world scene: a prosperous Western democracy living next door to the Soviet Union. To Americans, says Jakobson, this looks like an Indian rope trick: "a clever thing to do, but not quite believable." Here, Keith W. Olson surveys the...


's national poet.
Two blocks away, patrons browse through the Academic Book Store. With 12 miles of shelves and a white marble interior, it is one of Europe's largest and most luxurious book outlets. Meanwhile, down at Market Square, at South Harbor, farmers hawk fresh fruits and vegetables under orange canvas tents. Out on the water, red- hulled ferries shuttle tourists and their cars to and from Stockholm, Travemiinde in West Germany, and other Baltic ports.
Nearby, at the Kappeli, a popular...

Pekk'a Kalevi Hamalainen

available to foreigners is second-hand and second-rate," wrote a senior Finnish diplomat two years ago in Foreign A) fairs. "As a result," he continued, "Fin- land is forever at the mercy of the itiner- ant columnist who, after lunch and cocktails in Helsinki, is ready to pro- nounce himself upon the fate of the Finn- ish people."
An English-speaking reader hungering for serious information on contemporary Finnish society soon finds himself on short rations. To be sure,...

onciling faith and reason in his massive Summa Theologica (1265-73), Thomas Aquinas ranks as one of the great thinkers of the eve of the Renaissance, the conservative revolutionary who changed in 40 years the whole intellectual outlook of the Christian world. He pressed for "rational investigation," "discernment of exceptional conditions," and "prudence." Italy's Umberto Eco, semiotics scholar and author of the popular novel The Name of the Rose (1983), offers a lively...


August 1920, the amendment had been ratified 36 states.
In no other Western nation have organized women tried so hard so often to transform society. American feminists have sought not only to end inequities in voting, employment, property rights, and education, but also to reform men and, on occasion, to move both sexes toward a kind of "gender-blind" regime-goals few Euro- pean feminists have ever contemplated.
Today, after both successes and unexpected failures,...

by Lois nner
On July 19,1848, in the village of Seneca Falls, New York, some 300 people crowded into a small Methodist chapel, drawn by an announcement in the daily Seneca County Courier. The notice pro- claimed something unheard of-a two-day "Woman's Rights Conven- tion." Despite a request that men stay away until the second day, about 40 curious males showed up at the start.
The organizers of the convention-Lucretia Mott, a 55-year-old Quaker activist from Philadelphia, and Elizabeth...

Lois W. Banner

ot;Don't forget to be a good boy," wrote a mother in rural Ten- nessee to her 24-year-old son Harry Bum, the youngest represen- tative in the Tennessee legislature, "and help Mrs. Catt put 'Rat' in Ratification."
Bum's vote meant everything, because the legislature was oth- erwise evenly divided. If he voted in favor of the Nineteenth Amend- ment, Tennessee would become the final state needed for ratification. If he voted against it, the amendment would probably fail, for the remaining...

William L. O'NEILL

the afternoon of March 22, 1972, a packed gallery in the United States Senate erupted in applause, cheers, and cowboy yells as the roll call vote revealed that, 49 years after it had first been proposed, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) had been approved by a lopsided margin of 84 to 8. Within a half-hour, Hawaii's state legislature became the first in the Union to ratify the amendment.
'There seems little question now," the Washington Evening Star observed after the Senate vote, "that...

Rita Kramer

America's social and sexual rearrangements is like eating a bowl of overcooked spaghetti with chopsticks.

Steven Lagerfeld

a com- mon perspective but a highly divisive question: What does it mean to be fe- male-historically, biologically, and cul- turally? Add feminist goals and stir: It is no wonder that meetings of the National Women's Studies Association often take on the tenor of a United Nations emer- gency session.
Much of the controversy in and around women's studies harkens back to the early feminists' naturelnurture quan- dary-are women by nature the same as men (only nurtured to be different) or are they...

This is the century of spies. Yet, though Carre's talents cry out to be employed in they are said to be almost everywhere, the creation of a real novel." Burgess we seldom see them, except on televi- went on to lament "the myth that the sion, giving press conferences, or being only literature the British can produce led, in manacles, from car to courtroom. on a world scale is sub-art about spies." Knowing that most of the successful One can hear in these remarks more ones work in...

Tom Maddox