This book offers a comprehensive history of the women's movements in the United States and Britain from the late eighteenth century through the 1920s, detailing both similarities and differences. In each country, organized feminism developed from similar social conditions: a shared heritage of Enlightenment ideas, a relative expansion of political rights, the spread of industrialization and urbanization, the growth of an influential middle class, and the presence of a predominantly Protestant culture. In addition, women of both nations pursued similar objectives and experienced similar obstacles in their pursuit of equality.
As Christine Bolt shows, however, there were important distinctions. Americans were inspired by their own perception of the superiority of their social circumstances, the greater strength and boldness of their movement, and the greater freedom and respect accorded them. In contrast, the cause of British feminism was vastly complicated by issues of class, and British women often used different means to achieve reform.