Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Rebecca Hughes

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Elizabeth Baigent


free trade, oratory, political culture, United Kingdom, Edwardian, feminism


Dorothy M. Hunter (1881-1977) rose to prominence during the 1906 United Kingdom general election as a markedly “girlish” yet widely respected free trade orator. While men on the Edwardian public political platform typically built a reputation for oratorical prowess through theatrical displays of “heroic” masculinity, Hunter established her authority as a speaker through two very different (and apparently contradictory) strategies. Her performance of “charming” middle-class femininity helped demonstrate her right to speak on free trade as a “women’s question,” extending women’s traditional authority over matters of domestic consumption to include questions of political economy. Trusting in the power of education and the logic of free trade, Hunter also developed a reputation for “manly” rationalism that set her apart from the sensationalist mainstream of political oratory; her fellow Liberals often credited her lucid explanations of basic economic theory with converting many to the free trade cause. The juxtaposition of “manly” rationalism and “charming” femininity in Hunter’s oratory created a compelling spectacle that won Hunter attention and respect in the crowded, tumultuous world of Edwardian public politics.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

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