Megan Threlkeld

Aug 2, 2022

Citizens of the World

U. S. Women and Global Government

University of Pennsylvania Press 2022

In Citizens of the World: U.S. Women and Global Government (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), Megan Threlkeld profiles nine American women in the first half of the 20th century who invoked world citizenship as they promoted world government. These women agreed neither on the best form for such a government nor on the best means to achieve it, and they had different definitions of peace and different levels of commitment to genuine equality. But they all saw themselves as part of a global effort to end war that required their participation in the international body politic. This book argues that the phrase “citizen of the world” was not simply a rhetorical flourish; it represented a demand to participate in shaping the global polity and an expression of women's obligation to work for peace and equality. It gave them a language with which to advocate for international cooperation. Citizens of the World not only provides a more complete understanding of the kind of world these women envisioned, it also draws attention to the ways in which they were excluded from international institution-building and to the critiques many of them leveled at those institutions. Women's arguments for world government and their practices of world citizenship represented an alternative reaction to the crises of the first half of the twentieth century, one predicated on cooperation and equality rather than competition and force.

Rebecca Turkington is a PhD Candidate in History at Cambridge University studying transnational women’s networks. 

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