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“A Dead Husband is a Better Ticket to Congress than a Log Cabin”: Widows in Office, 1920-1940

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Event Details

July 23, 2020 | 7:00 pm

Presenter: Katherine Parkin, Ph. D. – Professor of History and the Jules Plangere, Jr. Endowed Chair in American Social History

When the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) died in 2018, speculation turned to who the governor would appoint to fill out the remaining term, and one of the names circulating was his widow, Cindy McCain. The tradition of women finding widowhood as a path to politics is as old as women’s suffrage, dating back one hundred years to 1920.

This talk will cover the two decades after women secured the right to vote, when a minuscule number of women found their way into political office. Heralded by history as pioneering politicians, a significant portion of the women in office at local, state, and national levels in these decades only found themselves elected or appointed to hold the seat of their dead husbands. While not the pioneering politicians we might imagine, the political coverage of widows did help open the possibility for women to independently enter into politics. Indeed, widows themselves and constituents following them discovered that women could be astute, successful politicians. While not intended to extend power to women, widowhood helped introduce women to the political arena and awakened Americans to their political potential.

Please RSVP by 7/21 to Stacey Ayers.

Zoom Information

Topic: “A dead husband is a better ticket to Congress than a Log Cabin”: Widows in Office, 1920-1940
Time: Jul 23, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 987 9682 4870
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