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Ambition 1877–81

Ambition 1877–81

(p.80) Chapter 4 Ambition 1877–81
University of Chicago Press

Jane Addams was clearly worried about how her sex would affect her ability to fulfill her ambition. She believed that women should claim a place for themselves in the “busy, active world” but she also worried that being a woman was a liability in that effort. To achieve authority, she argued, woman should add reason, logic, and facts to her resources and study science. Such study would make her a more accurate thinker and more independent. It would also teach her silence and self-denial (revealingly, her logic here is obscure). Most of all, it would allow her “to attain what the ancients called, in Latin, auctoritas, the right of the speaker to make [himself ] heard.” Auctoritas, Addams knew from having read Cicero, was the word ancient Romans used to refer to the respect given to civic leaders. Part of the appeal of the medical degree, it now became clear, was that it would allow her to acquire auctoritas.

Keywords:   Jane Addams, ambition, auctoritas, authority, self-denial, resources, Cicero

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