During the militant U.S. suffrage campaign of 1917, many suffragists were incarcerated and driven to hunger strikes. In mainstream and suffragist press at the time, as well as memoirs produced after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, these suffragists were portrayed as martyrs to the suffrage cause. The figure of the martyr was used by the suffragists as a political strategy. Though the attempt to present these women as martyrs faced challenges, the suffrage movement was able to employ methods that helped redefine the meaning of a modern martyr in a way that benefited the suffrage cause. Ultimately, the publication and dissemination of the narratives of suffering produced by the suffragists relegitimized the suffrage movement’s justifiability and reinforced the position of the antagonistic Wilson administration as their adversary, thus solidifying and reenergizing their cause.
This paper examines how campaign songs in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 presidential campaign aided his attempts to conceal his physical disability and to project himself as an able candidate. Through these songs, Roosevelt and his supporters reinforced rigid societal constructions of “ability” and what constitutes a capable body. Though polio left him paralyzed for life in 1921, Roosevelt constructed an elaborate ruse of recovery in order to be a viable contender for a public that equated power with a normative physical body. He actively created a discourse, through appearances, speeches, and songs, that put forth his supposedly fit physicality as a principal reason for electing him president. Songs like “Row, Row, Row With Roosevelt” and “The Roosevelt Glide” entered the minds and bodies of voters, shaping their ideas about ability and their ideals concerning a candidate who would go on to reshape the United States.
Public housing in the United States is in a state of decline. Underfunded and often badly maintained, decades-old public housing developments are being torn down to make way for mixed-income, privatized housing. The central aim of this paper is to explore the cultural and material underpinnings of the demolition of public housing in American cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, among others, and to address some of the problems found in public housing today. This paper will attempt to demonstrate the importance of public housing as a source of housing for lower- and working-class people across the United States and suggest that demolishing and privatizing public housing should not be the go-to option for policy makers.
Italian-American bricklayer Giuseppe Zangara’s failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in mid-February 1933 represents an interesting example of how the former president is memorialized, as the current narrative—which still rightly holds FDR’s presidency in high esteem—more or less glosses over the kinds of motives that may have spurred the attempt at all. Though Zangara was not at all reasonably justified for his attempt, the event itself importantly illustrates that current opinions of FDR are not reflective of opinions on the man upon his landslide victory in 1932. This paper advances an alternate, yet more accurate narrative of FDR that accounts for the multifaceted sentiments and circumstances surrounding the 1932 election and broader US society at the time.