Melanie Gustafson teaches courses in U.S. women's history, U.S. social history, and digital history at the University of Vermont. Her scholarly work focuses on women and politics, most specifically on women's partisan activism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the author of Women and the Republican Party, 1854–1924 (2001) and a coeditor, with Kristie Miller and Elisabeth Perry, of We Have Come to Stay: American Women and Political Parties, 1880–1960 (1999) and, with Mark Stoler, of Major Problems in the History of World War II (2003), among other works. She is a former president of the New England Historical Association. As the vice president of Clio Visualizing History, she works to create web-based historical exhibits that can be used by scholars, students, and the public.
This lecture focuses on women's participation in American political parties before and just after 1920, illustrating the different ways women worked toward being "on the inside" of the partisan arena. It describes women's partisan traditions from the earliest days of the republic to 1924, when party leaders realized they need not fear a "women's bloc." It raises questions about the gendered nature of politics.