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Democracy 1896–98

Democracy 1896–98

(p.363) Chapter 15 Democracy 1896–98
University of Chicago Press

The place of democracy in Jane Addams's thought during her early years on Halsted Street was, in one sense, constant. She had been referring to the idea in her speeches since 1890—and had always done so in a way that showed it was centrally important to her. But this constancy was not the whole story. During the same period her thinking about democracy became more complex. At the beginning she had stressed its social side and called Christian fellowship “true democracy”; in 1895, without abandoning her commitment to social democracy, she started to give equal stress to democracy's political side. Although she did not use the word in “A Modern Lear,” she spoke there of the need for the leader to “insist upon consent” and “move with the people” and called for “the emancipation of the worker.” These observations confirm that her concept of democracy now included the workers' understanding of the meaning of social justice and their belief that their political power, both in the workplace and more broadly, was key to its achievement.

Keywords:   Halsted Street, democracy, Jane Addams, social justice, political power, Christian fellowship

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