Jane Adams Essay, Research Paper
Even as a little girl in the serene community of Cedarville, in northern Illinois, Jane Addams was “busy with the old question eternally suggested by the inequalities of the human lot.”(Pg.47 Ch.1) There were not many inequalities in Cedarville, but even there were poverty and frustration: the war widows, the desolate old couple who had lost all five of their sons, the farmers who were victims of the postwar depression, and the newcomers who could never really get started. And when she visited the neighboring town, she was shocked by the appearance of the dwellings and, characteristically, wondered what could be done to make them less horrid. She could sympathize with the misfits and the victims of society for she herself felt very less than perfect as she describes; “an ugly, pigeon-toed little girl whose crooked back obliged her to walk with her head held very much upon one side,”(pg.44 ch.1). She was constantly afraid that she might embarrass the handsome father she adored. Her father John Adams was a successful businessman and politician who tried to pass on to his daughter his ideals of hard work, achievement, democracy, and equality. He taught her tolerance, generosity, and strong work ethics which were all traits of his Quaker faith. He encouraged her to pursue higher education but not at the cost of losing her femininity and the prospect of marriage and motherhood. John Addams was Cedarville’s most respected citizen. A prosperous miller, Jane would sometimes hangout at her father’s flourmill where she would romp in the empty bins. The piles of bran and shorts were as good as sand to play in. He was also a local political leader who served for sixteen years as an Illinois state senator from 1854 -1870. A friend and admirer of Abraham Lincoln, John also fought as an officer in the Civil War. He was quiet and hard working and had a hatred of tyranny and injustice in the world.
At the age of seven years old, a new woman entered the life of Jane Addams. Her father married Anna H. Haldeman, a widow with two sons. Jane felt no deep warmth for her stepmother, but this demanding and intelligent woman did contribute to her education, especially in the areas of music and literature. Sometimes…
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