Tag Archives: chicago

Jane Addams: Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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English: American social reformer, Jane Addams

Jane Addams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of the 100 individuals awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, only 15 are women. Of the 15, 3 are from the United States. In 1931, the first female American won the Nobel Peace Prize for being a pioneer social worker in America. Jane Addams never wanted to raise children or stay at home, though her family wanted her to. When they took her to Europe in hopes of changing her mind, the trip instead inspired her to take action.

Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois on September 6, 1860. Her father was State Senator John Addams, a friend of President Abraham Lincoln. Her mother died when she was two, but she was inspired by her mother’s kindness to the poor to study medicine. Addams’ poor health caused by curvature in her back prevented her from attending medical school. While she was traveling in Europe, she came across Toynbee Hall, a settlement house. When she returned to Chicago, she and her friend, Ellen Starr, decided to open their own settlement house. The two women leased a large house built by Charles Hull; the house became known as the Hull House. The goal of the Hull House was “to provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.”

The two women raised money by giving speeches and convinced young woman to help take care of children and nurse the sick. By the second year, it was hosting 2,000 people a week; kindergarten classes took place in the morning, elementary children clubs in the afternoon, and classes for adults in the evening. In 1905, she was appointed to Chicago’s Board of Education and in 1908, participated in the founding of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and became the first woman president of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. She led investigations on midwifery, narcotics, child labor, and sanitary conditions.In 1910, she received the first honorary degree ever awarded to a woman by Yale University and in 1911, she became the vice-president of the National American Women Suffrage Association.

Before the United States entered the World War One, she became outspoken against the war and became expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Though her publicity decreased, she continued to help the poor by working as an assistant to Herbert Hoover in providing relief supplies of food to the women and children of the enemy nations. In 1926 she had a heart attack that she never recovered from; in fact, she was at the hospital on the day the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her in 1931. On May 21, 1935, she died after an operation reveled unsuspecting cancer. The funeral service was held in the courtyard of the Hull House and was attended by thousands of people

Jane Addams grew up knowing that her mother helped the poor and she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps. Though her poor health prevented her from becoming a doctor, she instead found a new calling that allowed her to help thousands in the poor area of Chicago. When she realized the root of the problem were the lack of laws, she became involved in the government to create new laws to improve sanitary conditions. Addams had several setbacks, but continued to work toward her goal and because of her determination, thousands benefitted from her good will.

 

Sources:

The Nobel Peace Prize 1931

Jane Addams

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Age of Prohibition: Reasons why Banning Guns are not the Answer

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In the 1820’s an age of religious revivalism swept the United States. Though this helped increase support for slavery to be banned, it also increased support for alcohol to be banned. Alcohol was seen as the reason for ruining families. Massachusetts banned the sale of alcohol in less than 15-gallon quantities in 1838; though it was repealed two years later, it led the way for Maine to become the first state prohibition law in 1846. In the early 1900’s prohibition support grew among factory workers to increase efficiency of their workers and prevent accidents.

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created a temporary wartime prohibition to save grain for producing food. In 1917, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment which banned manufacturing, transportation, and sale of alcohol within the United States. This was made possible by the number of dry members (those who supposed prohibition of alcohol) winning seats in Congress. At first the number of arrests for drunkenness declined, but the success would not last long. Americans soon became desperate for alcohol and people knew supplying alcohol illegally could result in a large profit. Moonshining (informal production of liquor), bootlegging (illegal manufacturing and sale of liquor) and speakeasies (bars and nightclubs selling alcohol) all became popular over the next decade. The people in charge of these also became wealthy; my great-grandfather was one who made a large profit off bootlegging.

After the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini took control of Italy in the 1920’s, many Italians fled Italy and found home with the mafia in the United States. The mafia and other gangs began importing alcohol from other countries and selling it; they would also violently kill each other in order to gain more area to sell alcohol. Chicago gangster Al Capone was responsible for exterminating numerous rival gangs, which allowed him to make $60 million annually from bootlegging. The costs of law enforcement also went up as more were needed to go after criminals.

Besides the increase in violence due to prohibition, the idea that legalizing the liquor industry would create jobs became a popular thought during the Great Depression. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, allowing the United States to sell alcohol again; the number of gangs and violence decreased soon afterward. Though the United States tried to decrease violence due to alcohol, it instead increased overall violence by allowing the criminals to be in charge of alcohol. If guns were banned, then the criminals would make profit by providing the ones willing to pay with guns. The criminals would also be the only ones with the guns since criminals do not follow rules. The costs of enforcing the gun ban would be high, resulting in Americans paying higher taxes to make sure that their neighbor does not have a gun. Banning guns may seem the answer, but it is not. Switzerland has a low murder rate and yet has the third-highest number of guns per capita on Earth. The highest number of mass shootings in the United States did not happen in 1999 or 2012, it happened in 1929.

Sources:

The Facts about Mass Shootings John Fund Nation Review Online

Prohibition History Channel

It’s the Guns Michael Moore