Jump to Navigation

Kansas History - Winter 1997/1998

(Vol. 20, No. 4)

Kansas History, Winter 1997/1998Nancy G. Garner, "'A Prayerful Public Protest': The Significance of Gender in the Kansas Woman's Crusade of 1874."

Read this article online

Although the role of women in the campaigns for prohibition and equal suffrage during the late nineteenth century have been studied, little attention has been focused on the "Woman's Crusade Against Alcohol." Garner, a professor of history at Wright State University, corrects this omission with respect to the Kansas crusade which began in February and continued through the summer of 1874. "Central to the Crusade was a rethinking of gender roles generated by the political and financial anxiety of the early 1870s," argues Garner persuasively. "Crusaders insisted that civic morality and prosperity could only be guaranteed if there was an equal balance of power between men and women in the public spheres of government and business." Few if any saloons closed as a result of the crusade, but nevertheless, Garner concludes, "the Kansas crusaders may have been the most successful in the nation." After all, "prohibition was enacted in Kansas in 1880 and women began to vote in city elections in 1887, years before either were achieved on a national level."

Thomas Fox Averill, "Kansas Literature of Drought and Dust."

Read this article online

To most Kansans living today, the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression are virtually synonymous. But people of other eras and generations also experienced dust-bowl conditions, about which they have vivid memories and wrote stories and poems. As Professor Averill demonstrates, "Kansans have a long and continuing tradition of writing about dust, drought, and economic hardship. When the Dust Bowl days descended upon Kansas and the Great Plains, then, literary Kansans did not have to invent a whole new literature to incorporate a new experience: they wrote with knowledge and power, their edge already sharpened by years at the grindstone of harsh weather and hard times." Using the works of John Ise, Celeste May, May Williams Ward, Julia Ferguson Siebel and Kenneth Wiggins Porter, among others, illuminates "our literary tradition, "which, he concludes, "will be there as long as a farmer suffers and a writer chronicles that suffering."

Michael J. Grant, "'Food Will win the War and Write the Peace': The Federal Government and Kansas Farmers During World War II."

Read this article online

Although many Kansas politicians and the majority of Plains farmers supported New Deal farm programs during the mid-1930s, they became weary of too much federal interference by the end of the Depression Decade and generally hostile toward continued efforts to control production during the war years. "When both moisture and better prices returned in the early 1940s," writes Grant, "Kansas farmers resented any impediments keeping them from finally making a profit from their land." Really what they wanted was "the best of both worlds: an economic safety net" and the freedom to take advantage of wartime demand. They got much of what they demanded, but many farmers remained disgruntled in the face of wartime prosperity, nevertheless; and their apprehensions were compounded by persistent fears of a post-war depression like the one that followed the Great War.

Volume 20 Index