Twenty Women Who Changed American History

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Course Description


When the first European settlers arrived to stake their claim in America, they brought with them their philosophies, their religious beliefs, and their women. And over the course of nearly four centuries, many strong, even fearless women have risked their lives to change what they saw as injustices, not only for themselves but for all people who faced the wrongs inflicted upon them by an imperfect society.

This course looks at the lives of women such as Anne Hutchinson, who resisted the efforts of a male society to control what she could say, and Abigail Adams, who resisted the entrenched societal belief that women's lives were of less importance than men's. It examines the work of women such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth who, despite being born into slavery, not only managed to escape their captors but risked their lives to help others escape their fate.

We'll look at the fight for women's suffrage through the life of women such as Susan B. Anthony, who fought to secure women's right to vote, and the fight for American workers to have a voice in their work through the eyes of "Mother" Jones, once called the most dangerous woman in America.

Not to be forgotten in the creation of America are modern feminists like Gloria Steinem, who worked tirelessly to raise the status of women to a level at least equal to that of men, and Ada Deer and Dolores Huerta, who saw the living conditions of marginalized people as simply unacceptable. In all, the twenty women covered by this course were able to identify a wrong and dedicate their lives to making it right, and in doing so they paved the way for all women to follow them to freedom.

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics


Lesson 1: America Before These Women

Lesson 2 : Anne Hutchinson: The Roots of Religious Freedom

Lesson 3 : Abigail Adams: 'We Are Determined to Foment a Rebellion'

Lesson 4 : Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth: From the Underground Railroad to the White House

Lesson 5 : Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Two Paths to Women's Suffrage

Lesson 6 : Dorothea Dix and Helen Keller: Tireless Crusaders for the Blind and Mentally Ill

Lesson 7 : Jane Addams: Champion of Immigrants and the Poor

Lesson 8 : Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

Lesson 9 : Margaret Sanger: Woman Rebel of the Reproductive Rights Movement

Lesson 10 : Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer: Civil Disobedience in the Fight for Civil Rights

Lesson 11: Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem: The Beginning of Modern Feminism

Lesson 12: Sandra Day OConnor and Sally Ride: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Lesson 13: Wilma Mankiller and Ada Deer: In Pursuit of Native American Rights

Lesson 14: Dolores Huerta: Lifelong Crusader for Economic Justice

Lesson 15 Conclusion: The Status of Women in Contemporary America

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with an assignment. Students will successfully complete this course with an overall average of 70% or higher.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know America before these women.
  • Know the contributions Anne Hutchinson, Abigail Adams, and Harriet Tubman made on American society and culture.
  • Recognize the contributions of Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stantonon the paths to Women's Suffrage.
  • Recognize the contributions of Dorothea Dix and Hellen Keller and their tireless crusades for the blind and the mentally ill.
  • Know the contributions of Jane Addams, Mother Jones, Margaret Sanger, Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer.
  • Know the contributions of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem on the beginning of modern feminism.
  • Identify the contributions of Sandra Day O'Connor and Sally Ride.
  • Know the works and contributions of Wilma Mankiller and Ada Deer.
  • Describe the current status of women in contemporary America, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction5
Lesson 1 Assignment25
Lesson 1 Exam8
Lesson 2 Assignment25
Lesson 2 Exam9
Lesson 3 Assignment25
Lesson 3 Exam10
Lesson 4 Assignment25
Lesson 4 Exam9
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 5 Exam10
Lesson 6 Assignment25
Lesson 6 Exam10
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7 Exam9
Lesson 8 Assignment25
Lesson 8 Exam11
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9 Exam9
Lesson 10 Assignment25
Lesson 10 Exam10
Lesson 11 Assignment25
Lesson 11 Exam50
Lesson 12 Assignment25
Lesson 12 Exam50
Lesson 13 Assignment25
Lesson 13 Exam40
Lesson 14 Assignment25
Lesson 14 Exam50
Lesson 15 Assignment25
Lesson 15 Exam50
The Final Exam74
Total Points:789

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