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Daughters of the Declaration: How Women Social Entrepreneurs Built the American Dream    by Claire Gaudiani & David Burnett order for
Daughters of the Declaration
by Claire Gaudiani
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This informative book reveals how a group of idealistic and determined women entrepreneurs focused on building social profit in America long before the robber barons built universities and libraries and created foundations bearing their names.

Documenting the work of these women during a time that stretched from the Revolution to the end of the New Deal, this husband and wife writing team delves into the lives of Catherine Ferguson, Elizabeth Seton, Elizabeth Stott, Frances Willard, Mary McLeod Bethune and a number of gifted ladies who made a difference.

As the authors explain, the focus of this book is on the development of the not-for-profit sector and on the citizens who created it. In this sector, buyers and sellers of ideas to improve the nation can meet and do business.

'Millions of organizations offer their ideas for making the world a better place in which to live,' explain Gaudiani and Burnett. 'They are all the sellers of ideas, competing for investments of money and time by volunteer donors.'

Those who provide funds for these endeavors hope not for personal gain but for the more altruistic reward of seeing an improvement in society. They expect a social profit, which can be anything from a medical breakthrough, improved conditions in downtrodden communities, to a more effective educational system.

The authors seek to change the erroneous perception that Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon and other industrialists of this ilk were responsible for creating America's social profit sector.

'The social profit sector was developed not by the great men of industry but by women. Idealistic and determined women embraced the production of social profit in the new nation long before the 'robber barons' ... Women began this work at a time when they were not even entitled to own property or inherit wealth,' write the authors.

The women you'll meet in this book aimed to abolish slavery, limit child labor, integrate immigrants, bathe the poor, educate blacks, beautify their cities and obtain the right for all citizens to vote, regardless of race or gender. This is their story!

From Abigail Adams to Mary Lasker and Candy Lightner, these farsighted, intrepid women have worked to not only improve the lives of their own families but also of their communities, their states and the country as a whole. 'They imagined a better nation and set to work to make it be ... They shaped the fundamental characteristics of their nation's culture day by day, village by village, and issue by issue.'

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