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Jane Addams was one of the most remarkable women who was very instrumental in bringing a lot of changes in American society as well as to the world. She has been emulated by many and she is a very good role model to so many girls and women’s some of who even up to today still live on her principles and way of life. She discovered her mission and goal in life two times and these were what she wanted most and what made her renowned. Her two goals were for educated women to share all types of knowledge and skills with poorer people in her neighborhood especially the immigrants while the other goal was to advance and promote international peace (Linn, 2000). These two made her renowned and to become the first women in the United States of America to be presented with the Nobel peace prize. Therefore herein this paper discusses her history, achievements, and how she managed to achieve them as well as their impacts on contemporary society.
Addams was born in Illinois on 6th September 1860. She was the eighth child in her family even though only five of the children survived. Her mother died when she was 2 years old, however, her father was one of the richest people within their neighborhoods and therefore she did not suffer a lot when her mother left as she had a good father. Her deep social mission sense and liberal Christian values are what formed her as she grew up. In 1881 she graduated from the Rock field female seminary as a valedictorian and she was awarded her degree after a year when the seminary was fully accredited as Rockford College for Women (Hamington, 2009). She was part of what was called new women and this group of women comprised of those women who were educated at the college level and those that were independent.
She was she spend about two years traveling and studying in Europe while the next two years she also spent as she thought and write down what her life was about. During one of the visits to Europe whereby she went along with her friend Ellen Starr she discovered and visited a settlement house in the east end of London and therefore through this she got an inspiration to begin the same kind of house in Chicago. With her friend Ellen, she decided to begin this kind of house in Chicago and it was successful. They leased a house that belonged to Charles hull and this is what they used for their purpose of making sure that they provided the basic education. Skills, knowledge and so much more the poor people of the Chicago neighborhoods and especially the immigrants (Hamington, 2009).
The two were very instrumental in making sure that the children got their rights and that they were protected. They gave speeches about how it is important to take care of the social good and through their speeches, they encouraged women to take care of the children and invited more people to take part in this golden calling and goal to make society better. They nursed the sick, took care of the children, urged the well-to-do families to help, and raised money. By the time it was two years old it hosted approximately 2000 people and this was a very great success. With time the simple first house was incorporated with a swimming pool, coffee house, gymnasium, a music school, a book bindery among others (Haberman, 1972).
In 1905 she was appointed to be a member of the board of education and in the same course, she was appointed as the chairperson of the committee for school management. In 1908 she was one of the founders of the Chicago school of philanthropy and civics. In 1909 she became the first woman president of the national conference of corrections and charities. Yale University awarded her the first honorary degree awarded to a woman in the year 1910. She believed women had their rights and therefore there was a need for them to be considered and given a hearing in society. She believed that women had a very great role to play when it came to the enhancement of society and therefore along this women were supposed to be given the rights to vote and express their voice in selecting their leaders.
Her second major goal in life and which was challenging to a great extent was when she tried to retain peace and advised America not to get engaged in the first world war. At this point, she believed peace was very important and there were other ways to deal with the issues which were happening in the society apart from getting into conflicts with others and fighting. Due to her stand, she got very much criticized by the media and she had a bad experience for standing for peace and other methods to solve challenges. However, this never diminished her zeal and will to fight for social justice and peace. She also published a book called newer ideals of peace in line with her promotion of peace. Due to her stand about war, she was also expelled from daughters of the American Revolution (Linn, 2000).
In conclusion, therefore, the contribution of Addams to the American shaping of peace ideals, improvement of humanity and human dignity as well as the place of women have had a very great impact on the whole of the united states. She has been said to be a very instrumental and very important part of American history and this makes her outstanding in the way she is perceived and known by many people.
Haberman, F. W. (1972). The Nobel Peace Prize 1931. NobelPrize.org. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1931/addams/biographical/.
Hamington, M. (2009). The social philosophy of Jane Addams. University of Illinois Press.
Linn, J. W. (2000). Jane Addams: a biography. University of Illinois Press.
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