Writing a speech had focused Jane Addams's mind and helped her complete an intellectual revolution that had long been brewing. Cordelia, the daughter who defied her father, was the key. Able to identify fully with her, Addams was able to identify fully with the oppressed workers and to see that the ethic of benevolence, whether in its filial, philanthropic, or industrial form, was out-of-date. Having gained a new perspective as one of the oppressed, Addams came to see power everywhere. In “A Modern Lear” she equates the power of the employer with the power of a king, calls the benevolent philanthropist powerful, and describes the father as a dictator. She who had been raised to trust power now saw power's cruel, unjust side. For Jane Addams, the Pullman Strike and the act of writing about it were major milestones on the road to becoming a citizen.
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