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Title page for ETD etd-07232009-144638

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Fore, Whitney A.
Author's Email Address whitney.fore@gmail.com
URN etd-07232009-144638
Title Politics and Motherhood in the Cold War: The American Public Relations Forum, Women Strike for Peace, and Maternalism as a Mobilizing Strategy
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Brandi Brimmer Committee Member
Sarah Igo Committee Member
  • feminism
  • maternalism
  • rhetoric
  • political parties
  • Cold War
Date of Defense 2009-07-24
Availability unrestricted
In the 1950s, the conservative New Right experienced its initial stirrings in a grassroots level movement dedicated to routing out communism and perceived socialism in the United States. At the forefront of this movement were various women-led groups, including the American Public Relations Forum (APRF) of Southern California. Concurrent with the rise of the New Right was the rise of the New Left, which opposed the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War, and, later, racism and sexism. One particular group (though really a decentralized movement), Women Strike for Peace (WSP), was particularly active in these campaigns. Both the APRF and WSP utilized maternalist rhetoric and politics to not only recruit new members and mobilize existing members, but also to attract the attention of male politicians in an era when women were expected to remain in the domestic sphere.

This thesis speaks to the larger trends in U.S. history of women’s political collectivism, Red Scares and xenophobia, and the rise and fall of political parties from power. Most importantly, this thesis reveals the versatility of maternalist rhetoric in political campaigns by tracing its utilization by these two groups from different ends of the political spectrum through the end of the twentieth century.

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