Historical and Cultural Forces in the Life of Jane Addams.
The historical and cultural forces shaped the life of women during the Progressive Era, where "Jane Addams exemplified the New Woman of the 1890s, who integrated Victorian virtues with an activist social role."" The New Woman had a better awareness of "self, gender, and mission."" The New woman was mainly "middle-class, if not upper class, daughter or wife of a business or professional man, and had a better education than average."" Jane Addams was shaped through the expansion of college education, the women's club movement, and population growth in the country.
During the Civil War, the mid-western land-grand colleges admitted women. By 1910, "five percent of college-age Americans attended college and forty percent of them were women."" Middle-class young men found more opportunity in business than in professions requiring a higher education. As a result, women students filled these seats. "In 1862, Congress funded higher education through the Morrill Act,"" which started the expansion of coeducation. By 1900, there were almost forty colleges that admitted women. Most land-grant colleges welcomed women, because doing so cost less than creating separate institutions for them. Women accepted education to build a route to social equality. Jane Addams' education gave her the power and strength of public speaking, which got her the attention and contributions of wealthy, upper-class members for her club movement, she wrote and read papers, which let her keep up to date with other states, and she started Hull House, which gave the poor and unfortunate people of Chicago a home, work, education and more, and Jane Addams a home and family.
What to do after college was a problem for many women. There seemed to be no purposeful role for college-trained women. The Victorian view of the family played a big role in the life after college.