Jane Addams Essay

872 words - 3 pages

Jane Addams
Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois on September 6, 1860. She grew up in Cedarville, but later moved to Chicago where she died on May 21, 1935 of cancer. Being a woman, she made up about fifty percent of the population. Addams was very well known. Addams was quoted by President Theadore Roosevelt as "America's most useful citizen." She was a social reformer, internationalist, and feminist, but she was most well known for founding the Hull House.
For the most part, she did live the "American Dream," if you interpret the "American Dream" as wealth and success. She never had financial problems at all. Her father was a wealthy businessman and Illinois senator for eight consecutive years. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and he was a widely respected leader in his community. He also helped to bring a railroad into the country. She was also a very prominent member of society, and was very widely respected.
In some ways, though, she did not live the "American Dream." She did not strive to be wealthy and successful, she spent more of her time giving back to society than trying to become wealthy, prosperous and successful, which was what many people wanted. She worked for gaining the rights for everyone in society including the right for women to vote and anti child labor laws.
This was not true for most people of that time. Many people were very poor and tried to become prosperous, but could not. There were many immigrants, especially around Chicago where Addams was. They came here in hope of prosperity, but instead had to work long hard hours for very low wages.
Addams was greatly influenced by her father's strong morals. She was the eighth of nine children. Her parents were Sarah and John Huy Addams. Addams' mother died when she was only two while in childbirth.
Addams attended public schools in her neighborhood until she went to Rockford College (then Rockford Women's Seminary). It was here that her foundations for feminism were laid and she learned to uphold the "women's cause." In 1881, she graduated the Valedictorian of her class of seventeen. She studied medicine in Europe over the next six years, but realized that there were limited career options for women. At this, she decided to help society. While touring Europe, she and Ellen Gates Star, a college friend visited a pioneering settlement house called Tonybee Hall. ...

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