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Frances Perkins Essay

1379 words - 6 pages

Frances (Fannie) Perkins was an amazing person that represented a strong image for the female race. She was the first female cabinet member in the United States. Frances Perkins was the most influential person in American history because if she hadn’t been the first U.S. female cabinet member, females may not have a role in the U.S. government.
In the 1840’s, the Perkins’ family worked in the brick-making factory, and they were wealthy for a short period of time. Many businesses collapsed and were bought out, so the wealth didn’t last long. In 1870, the Perkins’ turned to dairy farming to get their money. Shortly after, Frances’ father, Frederick married a woman by the name of Susan Bean. On April 10th, 1880 in Boston, Massachusetts Fannie Coralie Perkins was born. In 1884, when Fannie was four years old, Frederick and Susan had a second child, Ethel (Downey 7). Fannie was very close to her family her entire life. She often spoke of ancestors, she adored and their ways of thinking helped her when she had to make big decisions later on in her life.
Fannie went to Worcester Classical High School, which was mostly made up of boys. This was rare for women because during that period of time only 3% of women moved on to a higher level of education. While she was growing up, Fannie was quiet and let others be the center of attention, but she spoke up when needed. In high school, Fannie started to realize that the gaps between the rich and the poor in the community were getting bigger. However, her family still remained in the middle class. Fannie graduated from high school, and was enrolled into Mount Holyoke College. In college, she shared a room with a friend in Rockefeller Hall. Fannie liked the college, and her motto was: “Go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things.”
By senior year, Fannie was the class president and became outgoing. She graduated, and moved to New York City. Her family was not happy, as her father called New York a “den of iniquity and a strange place” (Downey 14). She didn’t find work in New York, and Fannie had to come back home. Still, she was not happy with life in Worcester, and moved to Chicago in 1904. She started a new life in Chicago; she became a science teacher and changed her name to Frances.
Frances worked long and hard to try to help people that were poor and less fortunate than her. She tried to put up bills several times, such as the fifty-four-hour bill, and they didn’t work out. Frances kept pushing for the things she thought were right, and finally in 1912, the bill was passed. This was her first victory, and it gave her enough money to head back to New York.
While in New York, Frances finally found a good match. Around 1910, Frances met Paul Wilson. Paul’s family was wealthy and lived very luxuriously. Paul and Frances slowly gravitated toward each other in New York because of other friends they had in common. Short love letters were sent between the two when they...

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