Arguments For and Against the Admission of Women to the Legal Profession: 1869-1920

Kishimoto, Diane
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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From the end of the Civil War until 1920, the history of the woman's rights movement is dominated by the struggle for equal suffrage, but during this period women were fighting for equality in other areas as well. Admission to the legal profession is one such area. The first woman lawyer appeared on the scene in 1869, but it was not until 1920 that women's right to practice law was recognized in all the states of the union. During this period the admission of women to the bar was debated in the state and federal courts, in Congress and in the state legislatures as well as on the pages of law journals and popular periodicals. This paper is an attempt to describe that debate. Although, at that time, it directly affected only the small handful of women who wanted to become lawyers, the debate touched upon all aspects of the feminine condition. Thus the arguments used in the debate-over-the admission of women to the bar also form an interesting commentary on the legal, social, and economic status of women in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century.
ii, 31 pages
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