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Unpublished Paper
Sacrifice and Civic Membership: The Case of World War I
  • Julie Novkov

In the Civil War and World War II, many men of color gained rights while women's rights were in retrograde. While World War I is not a perfect mirror image of the Civil War and World War II, it may make sense to think of World War I as reversing the polarities that were in operation in the two other major conflicts. To understand this dynamic, this paper will explore the kinds of claims that men of color and women made for rights based in forms of civic service and sacrifice, how those claims were met by various state actors, and how the rhetorical frameworks adopted initially favored advances for women and disfavored advances for men of color. But ultimately, I will show, the relationship between the responses to both groups contributed to the collapse of the women’s rights movement and underlined a federal commitment to the maintenance of multiple and hierarchic forms of civic membership in the 1920s and afterward.

  • law,
  • history,
  • American Political Development,
  • race,
  • gender,
  • sexuality
Publication Date
Spring March, 2009
Citation Information
Julie Novkov. "Sacrifice and Civic Membership: The Case of World War I" (2009)
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