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tv   The Civil War Civil War- Era Women in the Federal Workforce  CSPAN  April 21, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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this brought into focus the question of what women do about unwanted pregnancy. >> many women say they should have recourse to abortions, but this is often impossible since most states won't allow it, and those that do have such stringent medical requirements that few women qualified. most who want abortions must go around the law, and one million do that in this country every year. >> you can watch the entire program this weekend on real america at 4:00 p.m. eastern time sunday. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. war:xt on the civil jessica borrow -- describes the types of jobs women did during the civil war, and their struggle for equal pay. the national archives in washington, d.c. posted this one
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hour-long talk. every march during women's history month, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in history and today. famous figureson of our past, but if we look closely, we see that ordinary women in all facets of society may change us in many facets. -- to uncover the stories of women who seized the chance for challenging work outside the home during the civil war. thousands of women came to the nation's capital to obtain federal employment. those who won positions found rewarding work, but also faced and who nevertheless became pioneers for women in the workforce. since then, women have entered the workforce in greater numbers across all executive agencies today. they make up 43% of the
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workforce. at the national archives, we do better than that. women constitute 52% of our total staff. history,he agency's women have played key roles. entrustedud to be with our nation's documentary heritage and we are especially proud to see stories and records coming to life in books such as this grand experiment. jessica ziparo earned degree from james madison university where she majored in history. she graduated harvard law school and worked as a environmental attorney in san diego. she taught environmental law as an adjunct professor at the university of san diego school of law. it was this experience that inspired her to return to her love of history. while she earned her master's and phd from johns hopkins, she wrote an colombo's --
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annotated bibliography of collections on dwight david eisenhower. aprilgoing to be here on 30 with his new book on dwight eisenhower. ,n addition to this experiment for which she was named as one of the 35 best debut authors over 35 for 2017, she is a contributing editor to counterpoints, women and civil war, forthcoming from kent state university. these welcome -- please welcome jessica ziparo. [applause] everyone. thank you for the introduction. take you to the national archives and -- for having me, and thank you all for being here to learn about the first women who worked for the federal government during the civil war. not a conscious
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decision made by a monolithic federal government. congress never passed a law saying supervisors must or could not hire women. that is why it turned into a messy, organic affair. women into brought their workforce for different reasons. it depended on their budget constraints, workload, and their individual feelings about what women should and could do. myth was a mess that -- a that the government hired women because all the men were fighting. that is an understandable mistake. the government hired women not because it lacked male applicants. lackedblem is that it qualified men who were willing to work at rates the government could pay. for women, the government found qualified employees who were
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able to do the jobs for less, half pay. the government was hemorrhaging male workers to the private sector, and the government found a swath of female employees. this is a -- from a book by virginia penny. it was ironic that the government hired women because they could pay them so little. because women wanted these jobs because they could earn so much more than they could in other lines of work. you can find this on google books. found 392enny different jobs women could be doing because they were now dependent on their own exertions. inflated.number is when you dig into the suggestions, it is not great. women could paint artificial eyes. that's not going to employ many women.
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others were not realistic. women could grow their hair and sell it. or theoretical. i heard a woman was a lawyer in italy in 1592, so maybe women could do that. but it's probably not a good idea. damn someone to help, like you could be a fortuneteller, but you would have to sell your soul to satan. you wouldn't want to do that, either. the main things women had available were they could be majorityworkers, the of women working in nondomestic -- nonagricultural jobs. or they could make textiles, or teaching, writing, printing. but none of those paid as much as the government was willing to pay. women from all over the country besieged the government for these jobs. newspapers would describe the number of applicants as
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innumerable. the government eventually cut off hiring women because the commissioner could not handle the pressure of female applicants all the time. who were these women? the federalhrough register, employee records, census data, divorce cases, diaries, over 3100 women who applied to or worked at the federal government between 18 -- and 1871. most of the women are white and middle-class in my book. that is for two reasons. clerks wereg as typically white and middle-class, because you needed the money to travel to d.c. to pay for the job. and those were the women that were more likely to leave behind records that i could look at. it was more860's, complicated. i found 21 african-american women who were working as laborers or clerks.
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two women were deaf, one of which was a polish immigrant. some were escaping abusive marriages. old, rich and poor, and from around the world. women from africa were working for the federal government, from all over the world were coming to the federal government to work for them. so huge numbers of women applying for these jobs. how did the government choose among them? 273 employee files i reviewed from the war and treasury department, 235 contained materials for new hires. the other ones would've contained reapplication materials. 235 contained brand-new applications. of these, only 45 were successful, one in five. i think that number was inflated. the government would return letters of recommendation if you
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are tired of waiting to hear whether not you got the job -- if you had that letter and you were not getting a job at the federal government, you could use it at another place. i think that number, one in five , is actually high. so how did supervisors choose among these women? they quickly learned that to be successful and obtain these jobs, they needed influential friends and a good story. this is -- who worked for the war department. she was a newspaper editor, and she said to get an appointment, no qualifications are required except influential friends. her friend was edwin stanton, secretary of war, who got her the job. influential friends were any -- were part of any application, male or female. some had dozens of signatures of congressman, senators, generals,
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state politicians. but getting influence is hard, especially for women. at this point, they were denied the vote and relegated to the domestic sphere. powerful, not create influential recommendations, and women struggled with the act of recommendations or influence. maria baker wrote her application to the war department explaining she did not have recommendations, and said i feel too delicate to ask for recommendations. she did not get the job. mary -- who wrote a book , a guide book that came out in 1873. it said that if a woman wanted to get a job in washington, her first job was to tell her story to a man. if the man was sufficiently interested, she would receive the coveted place, no matter her
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qualifications or lack thereof. another author wrote that it might be stated as a fact that a man might secure employment under government, a woman must achieve it through dire necessity and bereavement. -- a tale of poverty and suffering that evoked a paternalistic pity. white, middle-class women in these letters were being described as in destitute poverty, indigent, in extreme need. again, this entire process was .eavy with paternalism application files contain blatant and explicit requests for the government to step into the shoes of an absent mail breadwinner.- male this a stanza poem is about a war widow who gets a job at the
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--asury, because "the strong like a lover." this is dr. mary walker, the first and only woman to receive the medal of honor. she spied for the union, for which she was captured by confederates and imprisoned in richmond for a while. johnson awarded her the medal of to receiveonly woman it. it was rescinded in 1917 when they changed the qualifications that you have to have been in combat, but then it was posthumously given back to her. but she wore it all the time. by 1869, she was trying to get an army commission and was unable. she turned to the federal department. she tried to obtain a clerical .ob
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espousing -- rather than sticking to the narrative of neediness and paternalism earned her new job and public ridicule -- burned her know -- earned her no job. people mocked her. described an sun encounter between her and the postmaster in which she demanded a position citing her loyalty and army record, and left successful. the story got more hyperbolic as time went on. the boston daily journal was informing her readers that walker was demanding the appointment of -- and when asked if she could speak the language, she said -- the recognition of the rights of women. these articles served as a reminder to people out there, if you want a job with the federal the waynt, this is not to do it. although this is a public
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failure of a public person, solely onwere reliant their skills were unsuccessful, and it is really sad to see. going, over and over, here are my qualifications, and a sayingnder is writing, this woman would be really good at this job, but she gave up. women learned they needed to frame themselves as helpless, dependent, needy, even though their actions in trying to get the job revealed that to be a fiction. what did women do for the federal government during this time? like it would be hard for me to stand here and tell you what all men did, it would be hard to tell you what all women did. i will give you examples. government hospital for the insane, also known as saint elizabeth's because soldiers there didn't really
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like that return address when they were writing home. is the floorplan of the second floor of the women's building from 1853. in the government hospital for the insane, women worked as attendance. men for the male patients. -- you ate with the patient's and were constantly with them. women, in addition to attendance, they were dairy maids, attendance, cooks. women scrubbed floors and watched the drapery. they did other kinds of manual labor. over here, this is the treasury department. men and women worked on the same machines renting money. down here is the government printing office, and here are ,omen working as stitchers stitching pages into books.
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in clerical positions, many of the tasks had been carved out for men's jobs. federal work at this time was not well structured. a man could come in and copy a letter for two hours, then tabulate accounts. when women came in, some supervisors carved off jobs that did not require training and gave them to women. copying was the main example. women would copy letters into ledgers, or any kind of copying work. for being charged with comparing the copy work of others. tasks that were given to women -- women developed this prized expertise, respected inside and outside of the government. these women are an example of that kind of job. notes, and ating the same time, looking for counterfeits.
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they became prize counters. the secretary of treasury recommended that these counters be compensated equally to mail workers, because their work required a great deal of care and skill. counterfeitassed a note or miscounted, she was personally liable for the money lost. no man in the federal government had this giant liability assigned to his job, and women formed this informal employee assurance, where if someone note,accidentally pass a it would wipe out her monthly salary, so they would pitch in to cover her so that the next time she miscounted, she would be covered. these women would do this across the country, because they were the experts at counting money. redeeming currency was also another expert position. if money was burned or sunk in a
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boat or rats found years -- and made a nest of it, you would d.c. to the women who redeemed it. this is a letter from the dead letter office. worked together in the dead letter office. women were stuck up here because -- stuck up here, which they complained about because it was hot and did not smell good. worked down here. when a piece of postage, like a letter or item, did not have a good address on it. it would just say, to john, in america. were expected to do the detective work to figure out who john was and where he lived. doing themen were same jobs, but women were being paid half or less.
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he only thing they could not do in the dead letter office was open the mail, because it might contain something scandalous. women were not allowed to open the mail initially, but they could do all the detective work of trying to redirect it. needye the weak and --rative, some women specialized skills to do work for the government. two women in the post office translated the entire foreign correspondents and kept up accounts in various slang witches. in the treasury department, the woman in the auditor's office had to possess a knowledge of banking and mathematics. in the internal revenue bureau, they had to know a variety of codes and regulations. agriculture, lois bryan adams had been the editor of the michigan agricultural periodical, a woman who had studied botany and natural history.
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in the patent office, then and women worked as copyists of drawings. she had to be an artist and a drafts woman to do that kind of work. female federal employees earned women a place not only in federal employment but also in the nation's capital. they joined in social, philanthropic, and intellectual activities with their male coworkers. d.c. was a tough place for anyone to live during the civil war, especially for women. single women in any city, especially. they were automatically assumed to be prostitutes. for a womany hard to find a place to live and navigate this difficult scene. as the number of female federal employees grew, shops and boarding houses started to cater to them. here is a border announcement for the statey
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department. here, there is an extra compensation that came through. investor extra pay in a sewing machine. this is hard to read, but it is a trinket shop. they are calling on women in the treasury department to shop at their store. this was, women were constantly in fear of losing their jobs. were laidnt, 53 women off from their job at the printing office. maybe come learn business at our school and become more employable. women become a more marketable -- women made much less money than their male counterparts, it was still more than they made in other lines of work. , and the timeey they saved because many of them were living and boarding houses, it meant they could engage in
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political and philanthropic activities if they chose. tony wilbur was one who chose to do so. before wilbur work for the patent office, she was one of seven women who attempted to register to vote in d.c.. then she decided she wanted a job at the patent office. the mayor said, i think i heard what you did, and i don't think you will ever get a job at the federal government. because you registered to vote. she still managed to do it. when womenater registered to vote, she didn't go. she notes that they did, in her diary, but she did not join them. the federal government discouraged women from participating in suffrage work. i think that might be why she was reticent. , male suffrage meetings clerks would sometimes come in and disrupt the meeting and make a scene.
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if you were working alongside those male clerks and they see you holding onto your job barely , you don't want to risk your very coveted, hard to get and easy to lose job. as we see this lack of , ramifications for both causes. entranceit initial into that -- women's initial entrance into the workforce did not generate a lot of newspaper articles. it was either with a neutral or approving tone. onoston newspaper reporting women clipping treasury notes says, oh, how nice that the attend to theuld legal tender. it was probably setting tongues wagging in d.c.. hundreds of single women traversing the street. reporting to their jobs in
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publicly accessible buildings. one woman -- very personally. i should warn you, there is an -- there is a sexually explicit and crude slide coming up. if you are uncomfortable, divert your eyes for a moment. , a union armyond chaplain and harvard grad, headache messenger deliver a letter to a young woman in the internal revenue bureau. explicitchy, sexually several pictures of his penis. and there were multiple letters. he would sit at the messenger desk, write these horrible letters, and she was not responding to them. he got frantic and threatened to send them to her mother. it eventually came to the
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attention of her supervisor and the war department. the war department dispatched a guy and said they caught him doing it. but they said there was no law to prevent him from harassing her. ultimately they kicked him out of the city and declared him insane. but she must've been traumatized by being the source of a federal investigation and sustain sexual harassment. then the scandal happened. this is the treasury department scandal of 1864, my quick overview. ,he secretary of the treasury chase, up here and the republicans in congress instituted the greenback, a new uniform currency. 1862, clark was in the process -- in charge of the process of creating physical greenbacks. he hired men and women to do this. he hired a doctor to create a counterfeit-proof paper to discourage counterfeiters.
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new currency of questionable constitutionality printed in newlydominations on a created form of paper, made by women. people were not happy. chase and the republican dominated congress could not have this negative rumor going around. the greenback was not tied to it -- it was solely based on the integrity of the nation. if you did not believe in the treasury department, the greenbacks would not be worth much. thee is also eyeing republican nomination in 1864. he wanted his reputation squeaky clean. he hired baker. go in, tell me everything is great and the treasury. that is not what baker does. he immediately arrests a guy for embezzling, then arrests stuart guinn, making the counterfeit
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paper. he does not enjoy being arrested and sues baker in three lawsuits. baker turns to the treasury and says you had better turn to my defense, or i will reveal all these terrible things i learned investigating the treasury. the solicitor says fine. goes to her boardinghouse room -- breaks into her room. he goes through her diaries, letters. she returns home. she worked as a clerk. , jenny, your roommate gurman told me all the things you are doing in the treasury department and i know you are having affairs. you had better confess. andthen jenny comes home, you areella told me having affairs. so she confessed. so jenny german was saying
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told herke his wife that the treasury department was nothing but a house of ill fame, and he paid her $40 independently of her wages once. this came to the attention of a democrat in new york who launches a congressional inquiry . in spring 1864, he launches this investigation. 1864, a 400 page report was split between party lines. 5-4. garfield wrote the majority opinion. he and the majority republicans said these rumors are just a conspiracy, baker and the female prostitutes associated with him. brooks disagreed and said the treasury had been converted to a place of debauchery and drinking. which isrecital of impossible without violating
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decency. what does this mean for my federal female employees? this is a cartoon, a democrat cartoon. this is lincoln in blackface. the treasury department, a new way to pay old debts. these womenion that were serving as prostitutes. it also starts a national conversation. newspapers declared that a regular system of prostitution treasury.eau of in chicago, the times is portraying the treasury department as a musical of , women similarly debauched. considered an experiment. this is really damaging. in massachusetts, describing female clerks as vile women, links and a chain of ice and corruption -- of vice and corruption.
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in chicago, criticizing women in the treasury as being of easy virtue. in new orleans, a newspaper declares whatever may be the investigations, the employment of female clerks will no longer be popular here. this scandal threatened female employment. the women involved in the scandal were immediately fired, even though the house committee told the treasury department, don't fire them. immediately fired. i have to tell you what clark did. unfazed, he put his own face on the currency. people did not like this very much, and now we have the rule that you can't have living people on the currency. you have mr. clark to thank for that. negative rumors about female federal employees were problematic. these were the best jobs women could hope to obtain, and they
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were holding onto them very tenuously. my initial version of this slide had, i don't remember, maybe 25 articles that i'll click through to give an example of how often there were newspaper articles about women being laid off. but it kept crashing my presentation. clerks,ing female dismissal of female clerks of treasury. men and women were not being dismissed. for men, there were other lines of work. for women, there was nothing that paid as well as federal employment. for example, a woman goes up to her supervisor and says, are you going to keep me on the payroll? me, and iosed to don't like him, but i will have to accept if you don't keep me. if you fire me. a lot of them were supporting
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parents, children, siblings. to lose their job would have been really bad. ofthere was a great deal anxiety among female federal employees to retain their job, which explains why they were reticent to participate in the suffrage movement, seen as radical. discouragedlity solidarity. it was every woman for herself. regain her job, a woman might write, you can get rid of mary smith. her husband did not do as much as mine did in the war, or her husband did not -- or her father did not campaign for you like-minded. did.s very -- like mine it was cutthroat and discouraging of solidarity. these are my numbers from the federal register. a document that underreported the number of federal employees, especially female. the treasury is missing hundreds of women.
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prettyl see the numbers consistently go up. there was a dip in 1869, but for women in the treasury, their percentage went up this whole time. they were way cheaper. the government could hire a woman to do the same job for half the pay. as budgets are being constrained, supervisors are turning to women because they can get the job done and not go over budget. the agricultural department -- he was so sick of dealing with female applicants and recommenders that he just started cutting down on female employees. this brings us to the argument for equal pay. and almostt for achieved equal pay and this time. here is what was working against them that we have seen so far. they had to produce these pathos-laden applications that describe themselves as needy and
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in need of supportive protection. the suffrage movement and female federal employees were not on the same page, not a united front. the treasury department and subsequent media created a negative idea about female federal employees, and the turbulent nature of federal employment discouraged group action. much womenabout how were making. when women entered the executive department, supervisors said their salary. it was not until march 1864 when congress passed the deficiency the $600, half of the lowest paid mail clerk, that became the law. how much women earned. -- the lowest paid male clerk. many working women were excited because this was way more than they could earn in other lines of work. still retaining their jobs andariously, between 1864
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1870, congress received 11 separate petitions asking for an an increase in female salaries. thatof these women argued since they performed the same work as men, they should be paid at same. i found these in the national archives, which is exciting. the equal pay movement did not gain movement until world war i. -- did not gain momentum until world war i, but this shows that the movement was far earlier. class,class, third fourth class -- this does not tie exactly into what men did, but what they did and how long they had been there. it was in formal and dependent on supervisors. they typically talk about a woman doing a $600 job, a second or third or fourth class equivalent job. verysalary is not only
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low, but it is flat. women had no room for advancement, no incentive to work harder. you were stuck at 600 until 1865. which we'll talk about. these are some of the petitions. this one i wanted to highlight, a petition of women employed as sweepers and scrubbers in the treasury department, asking for an increase in inflation. a number were african-american and illiterate. it would have been there printed name and an x. i have very few documents for laborers and african-american women, so this was one of my favorite that i found. inugh these positions were high demand and well-paid compared to other female occupations, male clerk efforts to receive higher pay showed that women salaries were too low to maintain a middle-class lifestyle in bc
6:37 pm were -- in d men were constantly complaining about how little they made in the federal government. you could see this in supervisors reports, complaining they could not keep men. there were men coming together saying, we should move to baltimore and commute to d.c. because we can't live in d.c. they could buy food at lower prices or create cap's where they could live -- live.where they could remember, they were making way more than women were. men were petitioning for more pay, with their far higher salaries. -- petitioned congress in 1865 for an increase in salary commensurate with the increased price of living in the city. the women argued that -- and men complain of their
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inability to provide for their families. in 1865, congress raised women's pay to $720 per year, which i'm sure was welcome, but it was still not equal pay. not what men were claiming to need to survive. women continued to agitate. 1866, this petition. 59 treasury department employees congress -- petitioned congress. they asked them to consider the vast disproportion existing between male and female salaries. do notplained, while we grudge our male friends one iota of their success, yet when they, whose side we sit by every day whose labors and responsibilities are the same as ours, whose salaries commence with 1200 per anum, promoted to
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second and third class clerkships, what makes us to differ from them? if women can perform the same clerical duties as men, should not there salaries approximate in some degree to theirs? in the general appropriation bill of 1866, congress partially acknowledged these women and raised their salaries to $900 per year. the additional compensation was welcome, but not equal pay. the conversation was just beginning. december 18, 18 68, thomas jones, democrat from kentucky, submitted to the house the following resolution. that all females in the employment of government be allowed equal pay where they perform like service with males. the baltimore sun applauded this unfortunately -- could not obtain a champion until this late date. and their, women
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advocates in congress fought to have female salaries brought with male salaries. the prevailing spirit in the debate and newspapers seemed to be for equality. passeduses of congress bills equalizing male and female salaries, but the change did not come. the arguments in these four debates were similar. longlyzed them as one conversation. there were a lot of men in favor of equal pay. senator palmer roy asked in 1869, where labor is performed, the compensation should be incapacity of the labor. the samebor is -- amount of time is bestowed, why should not the compensation be the same? radical republicans including palmer roy led the change, and some democrats, who supported
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slavery, which created great amounts of cognitive dissonance. if a laborer has two heads in one hand and another labor has two hands in one head, should they not be paid the same? we were arguing something very different years ago. the arguments for equality were straightforward. this is the just thing to do. they were in tune with the ideological rhetoric of equality permeating the nations capital at the time. the men who advocated equal pay believed the government should be a force of social change. senator bill gates from illinois called on his fellow senators to set an example that labor performed by anyone should have a fair reward and there be perfect equality between american citizens without reference to color, race, or sex. we've been fighting about this for a long time. not every congressman ascribed to that you.
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several had a different view of the role of american government in society. some believed that the government was a business -- there was a limitless supply of female labor. as these arguments were happening, supervisors are overwhelmed by the number of female applicants. ,o senator roscoe conkling republican from new york, said that it was a straightforward matter of supply and demand. supply was vast. because women were willing to work at $900 per year, it is not true as a business proposition that more business need to be appropriated. -- that they be paid in greater funds than necessary to obtain the services required. such men believed the government should not be used to affect social change. this is new hampshire senator
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erin cragin who says it would be bad policy to pay women more. cragan was not saying this is right, he said it is an existing fact and it was not the government's job to upset it. having these arguments in washington, women were continuing to agitate for justice. gertrude wrote to the pro-woman 1869,ge paper in december asking, what is our work? brain work? does work have sex? we are not playthings or dolls, we are human beings. surprising, inot light of how women applications were framed, that the argument that seem to have the most resonance among men opposed to equal pay, the one that explained itself as protective
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of women, paternalistic. these men argued that if women's salaries were to be raised, they would lose their jobs and be replaced by men. we should protect these women. thatessman argued department heads would not hire women if they had to pay them the same amount, and that men would crowd them out of the same department. this is a republican from nevada. there is not a head of department or bureau who would not rather have a male clerk that a female clerk doing the same work. to raise salaries would be to drive female clerks from the office. curiously, none of the men offering this provided any evidence from the department that supervisors would not hire women. and they had not been mum on this. beganting in 1863, they describing their female employees and reports to congress. these reports were never explicitly mentioned in debates. there was also a circular sent around by a congressional
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committee by the principal officers of the congressional departments to reform civil service. there was a question specifically asked of female employees. supervisors generally agreed that female employees were underpaid, but whether there salaries should be raised and by how much was a source of disagreement. several praised the economy of hiring women, and you can imagine. they are trying to get all of this work done on a constrained budget, and women can do it. they are praising that it is a great economic move that we can hire women for lower salaries. that is not the case for everyone. this is the bureau of -- statistics, alexander lamarr. he told congress in his annual report that there does not appear to be a sound reason why a government clerk is -- should not be equally enumerated --
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remunerated. can see these men having problems squaring the obvious ,njustice with this ingrained subconscious notion that they should simply be paid less. womengative reputation of largely gained and publicized by the treasury scandal also hamstrung women's efforts. some people were talking about, let's not have equal pay, let's just fire all women. this was an experiment that failed. seems new york times, it it has proven a failure. still an experiment. you have in debates democratic republican anthony rogers of arkansas debating whether or not paid equally -- if i lived to be one month older, i will abolish this
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business of female employment altogether. he said it was degrading to the people of this country that we women, it ishere, pretended to be for the services of the government, but in other cases -- other services altogether. the tone in congress was in favor of equal pay. the house and senate passed ills making male and female salaries equal, only to see them die in committee. of 123-27.margin committee, so it was not successful. -- describe it as a child of common sense and justice that undoubtedly represents the opinions of the mass of the american people. but pay was not equalized. movement to equal pay enjoyed -- congressmen were
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confused about what kept happening. senator trumbull thought they equalized pay in 1869, by a decisive vote, but somehow the committee -- the provision was lost in committee. senator coleman claims that in 1869 bill failed because it was sent to a conference late in the session by-- branches of congress, stricken out after a full and brief conference. men advocating for equal pay failed again in 1870, but congress did pass a resolution that supervisors could appoint women to those greater classes. before, women were stuck in the flat salary. trumbullsenator proposed an amendment to equalize pay. what they passed instead was, supervisors can appoint women to
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first, second, third, fourth class clerkships. trumbull said they are not going to do anything now. he was right. it is clear from the federal register, there was a small flurry of promotion. some supervisors had been waiting because they believed that the women had earned it, but there was not an appreciable number. theuch so that quartermaster felt compelled to write a letter of thanks to edwin stanton, secretary of war, when he agreed to put emma sedgwick on the greater class. he wrote, it is an acknowledgment of an incentive to faithful service and is executing a law of congress which has not been sufficiently acted on. and it would not be for many years. with tight budgets, no congressional mandate, and an endless supply of female
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candidates, agonizingly slow and promoting women. 71% of female clerks in -- years1, more than 30 after senator welch declared it -- simplyle prejudice because the laborer is a female," 43% of women in the treasury department still only earned $900 per year or less. this legislative failure, despite strong support for equal pay makes the absence of the suffrage movement even more significant. these women in the suffrage movement had a lot of political acumen. alternative history is tricky. you never know what could've happened. but perhaps, at the suffrage movement better supported women seeking equal pay, they could have gotten it through congress. they could have shepherded it through the meeting. but women of the suffrage movement were really focused on achieving the vote. and you can't blame them. it seemed very popular at this
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time. while they were never opposed to equal pay, they did not devote significant resources to it because they had limited resources and said we need these to get the vote. when we get the vote, you'll get equal pay. had they supported the equal pay movement it might have gone through. conversely, had female federal employees felt comfortable -- would've had a better chance of succeeding. one of the lessons, people ask me what you learned? i learned of this need for solidarity. i'm going to end with a picture rowe. row -- annie she was approximately 19 years old when she worked at the treasury. her workingrs of there, the miami herald ran a story of her. she was supervising the work of 229 nine and women by then. i wanted to and with any because
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i wanted to say that the experiment was a success. women earned a place in the federal payrolls and never left. 1860's, the u.s. government missed this crucial early opportunity to elevate female labor. -- to hire women as clerks. privatet to see more employers employing women, and they paid women less. perhaps, had the government set to the -- set the example of equally valuing male and female labor -- again, alternative history is hard, but it would've been hard to retreat from equal pay. it would have set the standard that male and female work should be equally paid. instead, congress sent a clear message. women were fundamentally exploitable, that there labor was not as valuable as male labor.
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, what women who asked makes us different from them? they never got an answer. it was just that they were women. i would love to take questions. thank you for listening. [applause] and there are microphones on either side. if you could ask into the microphone, please. i am retired from the national archives. this was the same time when african-americans entered the federal workforce. can you give any comparison get jobs,e ability to salary levels, the kinds of jobs , for african-americans from the end of the civil war toward the 1870's? granularlyt begin as with men as with women, but they
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were definitely african-american male laborers. see anyt african-american men employed as clerks of the federal government in this time, but that does not mean they were not there. i did not find them. in the federal register, it did not always note the race. i found three women working as messengers in the treasury that i only know from cross-referencing census records were african-american women. sometimes they were hidden and it was tough to find, but federal employment became an an incredibly important job for african-american men and women. because i did not big into the data of men as much, but i know african-american women were clerks. i did not find as many men. >> hi. you did not mention clara barton. how is she able to be such a standout, and why did you not
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mention her? >> i mentioned her in my book. but not here. i mentioned her in the context that she worked in the patent office prior to it opening itself up to female employees. she was brought in in the 1850's. the supervisor that brought her in did this radical thing of paying men and women equally. he left and went to new york, and his boss came and fired all the women and said it was totally inappropriate to have men and women working in the same office. her supervisor was upset because he thought they were great. women actually did not go back on the federal register in the patent office until 1869. they did do copy work, but not physically in the patent office. of the the head department of the interior thought it was inappropriate for men and women to be working. and when they did, they were in a physically separated space in the patent office, not to be
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working with men, but in a separate room. segregated. clara barton also wound up getting into a fight with her female coworkers because for a time, before she left the patent office, she made this arrangement with a coat -- with a male coworker who would do some of her job and give her some money for it, and she would help the soldiers with it. her female coworkers said she said theyow why -- did not know why she was getting the money. -- she is in the book. i had to cut it for time. >> and other successful women? >> julia wilbur, jane -- the newspaper editor. varying degrees of success. women were getting hired because they were needy and in need of paternalistic help. some of those luminaries did not
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have that narrative to be hired. >> wasn't there a woman who was the head of the sanitary -- that was during the civil war. >> some women who worked for the sanitary department, like mary sloan, she got hired. griffin, andhine she and her daughters worked for the federal government. her daughters' salaries supported her later. >> thank you. >> thank you. i am getting the times up not. -- times up nod. freedmen's bureau, there were a lot more women who joined. how were their salaries, and were they given more independence because they were starting schools and such? ,lso for our southern neighbors what was the condition of women's work in the south? >> those are big questions and i
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look forward to writing those books, but i did not focus that much on it in this book. did freedmen'sen work, but my work was focused on the federal department in washington, d.c. a lot of them were working outside of d.c. south, i had not looked at it as a, but i know that after the civil war, the women working in the south came up to the federal government to try to get jobs. female coworkers, union ladies, were not happy about that. for coming.l i appreciate you spending your tuesday with me and i hope you have a great rest of your day in d.c. [applause] >> just a reminder, there is a book signing in a few moments.
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you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. forow us on twitter information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. sunday on c-span's q&a, former professional basketball player and author -- and his book, "we matter: athletes and activism." >> when i was younger, i was taught about athletes who used their voice and position and platforms. my mother told me about kareem abdul-jabbar and muhammad ali, the athletes i learned about. as i was getting older, it was like a light bulb went off. cande a connection of how i follow in their footsteps, bring attention to these different causes just because i'm an
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athlete. and i just continue to do it .hrough college, in the pro's it just became a part of me. >> 2018 is the final year of the centennial of world war i and american history tv is marking the anniversary with numerous programs. up next, lasting impressions of world war i. the title of a press conference about the great work. this is the former joint chiefs of staff chair. the group takes questions and discusses how the war is remembered and lessons that can be drawn from it for modern military and political leaders. the national world war i museum and memorial and the national press club hosted this hour-long event.


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