6) Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930
This collection's texts allow students to explore the Progressive reform agenda that emerged with modern America. An autobiography of Wisconsin Governor Robert M. La Follette, called La Follette's Autobiography; A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences, and Trials of a Lawyer, the autobiography of Minnesota lawyer and congressman James Manahan, are both interesting and instructive.
Searching on women and suffrage yields titles such as The Story of a Pioneer, an autobiography of Anna Howard Shaw. In addition to recounting her own experiences as a suffragist, Shaw provides a captivating anecdotal portrait of suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony. Here, Shaw describes what happened when Anthony was unable to attend the first meeting of the International Suffrage Alliance:
When the meeting was opened the first words of the presiding officer were, "Where is Susan B. Anthony?" and the demonstration that followed the question was the most unexpected and overwhelming incident of the gathering. The entire audience rose, men jumped on their chairs, and the cheering continued without a break for ten minutes . . . Afterward, when we burst in upon her and told her of the great demonstration the mere mention of her name had caused, her lips quivered and her brave old eyes filled with tears. As we looked at her I think we all realized anew that what the world called stoicism in Susan B. Anthony throughout the years of her long struggle had been, instead, the splendid courage of an indomitable soul--while all the time the woman's heart had longed for affection and recognition.