When the year 1898 opened, most of Jane Addams's efforts for women's suffrage still lay ahead of her. Indeed, she had yet to undertake nearly all of the reform work on which her later reputation as a leading reformer would be based. As of early 1898, she had never lobbied Congress or advised a president. Nor did she belong to any national organizations. Although she had acquired a widespread fame from her speeches and related news coverage, the nation's readers had access to only a few published writings by her. These were her two Forum articles (which had also been published in a book of essays), “The Settlement as a Factor” (her essay in Maps), one essay on domestic service in an academic journal, and a few odd printings of excerpts from speeches, mostly in religious publications.
But Addams was about to enter a new stage in her work and achieve a new level of national prominence. In part, this was a result of the changing mood of the times. Left-leaning urban reformers, encountering resistance from conservative state supreme courts and state legislatures and desiring to standardize reforms across state lines, saw the federal government as a possible solution. They were ready to seize the national stage.1 Addams would join in the coming profusion of efforts to better coordinate state campaigns and to pass federal legislation.
Addams's increasing influence and prominence also grew out of her gift for addressing compelling social and moral questions and her developing talent for putting her ideas into national circulation. In 1898 and 1899 five major national journals and magazines would publish her articles about municipal corruption, labor unions, charity, and settlements, and she would begin to amalgamate her thinking into a series of integrated lectures that would become a book. In these years her devotion to a life of combined political action and writing and her profound commitment to