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Addams’s Anti-Imperialist Arguments Against Domestic Racism

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It is well known that W.E.B. Du Bois linked imperialism in the international arena with racial oppression at home. It is less well known that Addams did the same. Addams developed an international lens within her first decade at Hull House. She learned from her immigrant neighbors who represented dozens of nationalities, and she forged strong relationships with reformers and intellectuals abroad. Addams indirectly brought domestic racial oppression and anti-imperialism into the same focus in two protest speeches in 1899, “Anti-Lynching Address” and “Democracy or Militarism.” She brought them together directly in a 1913 essay, “Has the Emancipation Proclamation been Nullified by National Indifference.” These are brief pieces, presented to lay audiences in response to specific events. While interpreting them is less straightforward than with theoretical treatises, the anti-imperialist character of Addams’s stance against racism is clearly drawn.


Marilyn Fischer    
University of Dayton
United States


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