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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials – Jane Addams

Jane Addams was one of the most accomplished Progressives of the early 20th century. She wore many hats in her lifetime, among them feminist and pacifist, but Addams is best known for helping to create the profession of social worker. Addams eventually won a Nobel Prize for her work, and her legacy lives on through organizations like the ACLU, which she helped to found. 

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on Jane Addams.    



Addams founded the United States’ first settlement house to meet the needs of the impoverished residents of Chicago. Addams was inspired to create this settlement house, known as Hull House, during a trip to Europe. Addams and her friend Ellen Starr visited London’s Toynbee Hall in 1889, and both women thought a similar institution would be effective in America’s urban centers. Hull House would grow to offer a variety of services: kindergarten classes, night classes for adults, an employment bureau, and a circulating library. 


Democracy and Social Ethics was Addams’ earliest work on ethics. In this book, Adams stresses how the interdependent nature of industrialized society has made moral goodness a social, rather than individual concern. Addams equates this new, social morality with democracy. To realize this approach, one must engage with viewpoints radically different from their own. Addams refers to the dissonance or friction that arises from this engagement as “perplexity.”  


“Filial Relations” is one of the best-known sections of Democracy and Social Ethics. In this section, Addams examines the position of women within the Family and Society at large. Addams highlights the conflicts between these expectations, drawing references from a variety of sources to illustrate her point, including the Shakespeare play King Lear. 


Addams was interested in understanding the root causes of “juvenile delinquency” and believed that a punitive approach alone was not sufficient. She helped to establish the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute, a Chicago-based institution that considered biological and environmental factors influencing supposedly delinquent behavior. Eventually the state of Illinois would support the institute, and its name changed to the Institute for Juvenile Research. Addams’ work was instrumental in creating the field of child psychiatry. 


Addams wasn’t afraid to advance ideas some saw as unpopular. She constantly advocated for peace, even when the United States was gripped by jingoistic fervor during the First World War. Addams conceived of peace as a social process that emerged from the dispossessed and powerless rather than being enforced from the top-down. In Newer Ideals of Peace, Addams describes the idea of peace obtained through force as “negative peace.” 


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out: 

  • The Hull House was a welcome refuge from the violence and degradation of Chicago in the early 20th century, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a locus of paranormal activity. 

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