Corrected: Greatest American Woman (Elimination Game)

I have incorporated the women who were proposed in attempt 1 of this thread (except those who were still living). No further additions will be allowed. Too bad, so sad!

The format is similar to the former Greatest Military Leader thread that was run some years ago. My hope is that people will learn a bit more about each of these women, so I would hope that you will write some defense or prosecution as you feel fit, from your knowledge or as you learn about them.

Each player has 5 votes per round. They can assign up to 2 points per person that they want to eliminate. I will tally votes every three days at Midnight PST. Any person who receives 5 or more votes will be eliminated.

Bella Abzug - U.S. Representative and a leader of the Women’s Movement. Founded the National Women’s Political Caucus
Abigail Adams - Wife and advisor of the second President. Advocate for womens rights and abolitionist.
Jane Addams - Co-founder of the ACLU, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and founder of social work as a profession in the USA
Louisa May Alcott - Writer of Little Women
Marian Anderson - Classical singer (contralto). First African American person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.
Maya Angelou - Prolific author, poet, dancer, actress, singer, director, and producer
Susan B. Anthony - Abolitionist, leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, backer of the 19th Amendment
Clara Barton - Founded the American Red Cross
Nellie Bly - Undercover investigative journalist, circled the Earth in 72 days, industrialist and inventor
Mary Bowser - Former slave turned anti-Confederate spy during the Civil War
Pearl S. Buck - Author, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Spread knowledge of Asia and China to the US
Annie Jump Cannon - Astronomer who developed the stellar classification system.
Rachel Carson - Environmentalist, wrote Silent Spring
Mary Cassatt - Painter, one of the original Impressionist painters
Willa Cather - Author, won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours.
Shirley Chisholm - First African American woman elected to Congress, first major-party black candidate for President of the United States
Georgia Neese Clark - Actress, Banker, First woman Treasurer of the United States
Cornelia Clapp - Pre-eminent zoologist of the late 19th century.
Jacqueline Cochran - Aviator and racing pilot. Helped to form the Women’s Auxilliary Army Corps and Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Bessie Coleman - First African-American woman pilot
Emily Dickinson - One of American’s most reknowned poets
Amelia Earhart - Aviator. First woman pilot to cross the Atlantic solo
Mary Baker Eddy - Founder of Christian Science and the Christian Science Monitor.
Gertrude Belle Elion - Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for research into AIDS and immunosuppressants
Ella Fitzgerald - Jazz singer, winner of 14 Grammies
Dian Fossey - Conservationist. Writer of Gorillas in the Mist.
Betty Friedan - Initiated the second wave of 20th century feminism
Katharine Graham - First woman CEO in the Fortune 500, Pulitzer Prize winner, head of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal
Martha Graham - Modern dancer and choreographer. Created the Graham technique for dance. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction
Virginia Hall - WWII spy for British and later with the American CIA. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross
Billie Holiday - Pioneering jazz singer and songwriter.
Grace Murray Hopper - Programmer. Inventor of COBOL and “debugging”
Zora Neale Hurston - Author and influential libertarian, best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Virginia E. Johnson - Pioneer of the medical and scientific investigation of sex and sexual disfunction
Barbara Jordan - First southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives
Christine Jorgenson - First popular voice for transgender issues
Helen Keller - Deaf-blind woman turned author and campaigner for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and pacificism.
Dorothy Lange - Photojournalist and originator of documentary photography
Mary Lyon - Teacher focused on STEM training for women. Founded Wheaton College and Mount Holyoke College. Provided education to the poor.
Wilma Mankiller - First woman chief of the Cherokee Nation. Improved relations between the US Federal government and Cherokee.
Barbara McClintock - Cytogeneticist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Patsy Mink - First woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress, first Asian American to seek the presidential nomination
Lucretia Mott - Pacifist, women’s rights activist, abolitionist, and writer of the Declaration of Sentiments
Madalyn Murray O’Hair - Activist for atheism. Stopped Bible-reading in schools.
Carrie Nation - Radical member of the temperance movement. Fan of hatchets.
Flannery O’Connor - Southern Gothic writer of Complete Stories, 1972 National Book Award for Fiction.
Georgia O’Keeffe - Artist, “Mother of American Modernism”. Most expensive painting by a woman in the world.
b]Hedy Lamarr** - Actress, inventor of frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology
Annie Oakley - Sharpshooter and entertainer from the Wild West. Promoted women in the military and womens self defense.
Dorothy Parker - Editor for The New Yoker, poet and wit, nominee for the Academy Award for Screenplays.
Rosa Parks - Activist, symbol of the Civil Rights Movement
Alice Paul - Principal champion of the 19th Amendment
Frances Perkins - Secretary of Labor, first woman appointed to the US Cabinet, executor of the New Deal
Florence Price - First African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer and have her music played by a major orchestra.
Marion Pritchard - Worked with the Dutch underground movement against the Nazis, estimated to have saved 150 lives through her work
Ayn Rand - Author, founder of Objectivism
Jeannette Rankin - First woman to hold Federal office, serving two terms in the House of Representatives
Sally Ride - Physicist and astronaut. First American woman in space.
Eleanor Roosevelt - Longest serving First Lady, first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights
Betsy Ross - Creator of the American flag
Deborah Sampson - Served (in disguise) as part of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War
Margaret Sanger - (More-or-less) founder of Planned Parenthood
Susan Sontag - Essayist, writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist
Edna St. Vincent Millay - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and feminist.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Initiated the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States
Harriet Beecher Stowe - Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Abolitionist.
Ida Tarbell - Pioneer of investigative journalism, muckraker, wrote The History of the Standard Oil Company
Sojourner Truth - Former slave, women’s rights speaker
Harriet Tubman - Former slave, Union spy, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad operator
Elizabeth Van Lew - Abolitionist. Founder and operator of an anti-Confederate spy ring during the Civil War
Mercy Otis Warren - Writer and propagandist of the Revolutionary War. Compiled one of the first histories of the war.
Ida B. Wells - Inventor (?) of data journalism, used data mining to demonstrate the financial causes of the lynching of African Americans
Edith Wharton - Author of The Age of Innocence, first woman Pulitzer Prize winner
Frances Willard - Campaigner for temperance and suffrage. Lead to the creation of the 18th and 19th amendments to the Constitution
Edith Wilson - Functional Executive of the United States 1919-21

First tally will be EOD Tuesday.

Greatness is in the eye of the beholder.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll allocate 4 points and save one for later.

Rachel Carson - 2
Mary Baker Eddy - 2

Carson, as I understand it, has more likely hurt the world than helped it. Silent Spring presented a scary but unfounded view of the effects of pesticides and her work possibly kicked off the current organic movement and other anti-“chemical” nonsense. Getting DDT banned, in particular, is often blamed for the continued high incidence rates of malaria. If it can be reasonably argued that you are to blame for getting millions of people killed, via dumbassery, you probably shouldn’t be considered for greatness.

Similarly for Mrs. Eddy, while the Christian Science Monitor has ended up as a consistently good investigative journal, the Christian Science religion and its distrust of “medicine” has almost certainly gotten a lot of people killed and probably cause an even larger number to go through a significantly greater amount of suffering than was necessary, by choosing to not avail themselves of medical aid.

Now, to be fair, at the time she founded the religion it may well have been that medical techniques were largely worse than a placebo. But that’s not the argument that she was making. That only helps to explain why the religion was able to catch on at all (and explains why it is dying off, now that medical knowledge has advanced).

Can you cite this about DDT. Because it seems to disagree with reality. And by cite, please come up with some science links and not weird partisan rags. DDT caused an enormous amount of problems in my readings.

I’ll give 2 votes to **Ayn Rand **to be disappeared into the corn.
2 votes for the evil one: **Carrie Nation
**Too many singers, so I’ll give 1 vote to Maya Angelou

So no saves? No positive votes? Also can I say now, we will spend weeks and Eleanor Roosevelt will win.

2 votes to disappear Ayn Rand, because I can’t believe she’s on the list;
2 votes to disappear Mary Baker Eddy for founding an anti-science movement;
and finally, 1 vote to disappear Betsy Ross, because the story of her sewing the first flag is, as I understand it, pure Urban Legend, and maybe one of the original ULs of the budding nation.

I’ll grant that I haven’t personally done the research, but in all of the debates that I have seen on the SDMB, the malaria side seemed to have a lot of well written and reasonable sounding posts, by a variety of people, with a variety of cites (that I didn’t double check).

I’m voting on the basis that it seems that there is an argument to be made, that is a non-trivial argument, rather than out of personal opinion on the matter.

I would be happy to start a different thread to discuss it if the linked one doesn’t satisfy you?

Nope. While I do hope that the thread will let us all learn a bit about an array of impressive and/or interesting women, it’s sheer bloodbath from here to #1. All must fall 'cept the victor.

I would personally guess that Harriet Tubman will win, but there are a few people who have a pretty solid position from which to argue that they’re deserving of the top slot. I could make a pretty solid argument against Roosevelt already and I, myself, am not fully settled on who I think should be at the top. I think that the last 5-10 will be quite a grueling exercise.

You would need to find the thread about the $20 bill to determine who proposed her. I wouldn’t, but I don’t mind her presence at all (though, nor do I any of the women here) and I certainly don’t think she’s the least worthy.

From my personal reading of Atlas Shrugged, I’d say that she was nothing more nor less than the world’s biggest fangirl of Capitalism and that - more importantly - that’s because of her actual experiences living in Soviet Russia. It should be noted that Soviet Russia killed more of its own people, both actively and passively, than any other nation on the planet except maybe China - another Communist country. While her exuberance for the free market was overdone and overly non-critical, she was fundamentally an activist against a system of government and economics that was factually the worst thing in the world to-date ever invented by man. While her writing in regards to Capitalism is rather vague, unnuanced, and not terribly well argued, the bulk of the work simply takes real observations of the results of Communism and walks through what causes them and why that makes everything go bad in those systems. That is the bulk of the work and, overall, a good thing to have written down for posterity.

There was no real need for her to cheer on Capitalism in the US, but fundamentally it harms no one, and you’re living in a country that 85% is exactly the sort of place that she would have advocated and even if you moved to Sweden, you’d be living in a place that was 80% the sort of place that she’d have advocated.

The principal flaw in her works are the basic assumption that wealthy people are good and noble in all cases, and a rather simplistic view of society that neatly allocates everyone into the three buckets of the noble wealthy, the lying thieves, and every day worker (who should and just want to worship at the feet of the wealthy). That’s… Really not how reality works and despite her own rhetoric about her own greatness, her philosophy amounts to fanfic. Importantly, though, most people recognize that and discard it as vapid trash. Some consume it as vapid trash, the same as they do a Twilight novel, but Twilight probably has a worse message overall. (As noted, we all do live in and are quite happy to be living in Capitalist nations.)

I won’t mind if she goes in the first round, but I would suggest that there are others who are more deserving.

1 vote for Ayn Rand (which makes 5, she’s gone, yay, ding dong the witch is dead!)

1 vote for Betsy Ross

1 vote for Dian Fossey (interesting work, but not “great” enough IMHO)

2 votes for Edith Wilson - she and Woodrow were racist Confederate sympathizers and segregationists who set back the integration of the White House and Federal agencies
If I could, I would give 4 or 5 votes to her.

BTW it’s Dorothea Lange, not Dorothy

I’ll give:

– 2 votes to Carrie Nation. You can advocate for temperance all you like; but you can’t enforce it with a hatchet.

– 2 votes to Louisa May Alcott. A celebrated writer, and deservedly so, but not “great” enough to be on this list, IMHO.

– 1 vote to Willa Cather, for the same reason as Louisa May Alcott.

Sorry, I forgot to take into consideration the holidays (I can be a bit scatterbrained about the calendar). Here are the votes (bold eliminated):

Ayn Rand - 5
Carrie Nation - 4
Mary Baker Eddy - 4
Louisa May Alcott - 2
Rachel Carson - 2
Betsy Ross - 2
Edith Wilson - 2
Maya Angelou - 1
Willa Cather - 1
Dian Fossey - 1

Looks like the political leaning of the board was stronger than the desire to punish people that got people killed! :smiley:

Here’s the updated list (some typoes corrected):

Bella Abzug - U.S. Representative and a leader of the Women’s Movement. Founded the National Women’s Political Caucus
Abigail Adams - Wife and advisor of the second President. Advocate for womens rights and abolitionist.
Jane Addams - Co-founder of the ACLU, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and founder of social work as a profession in the USA
Louisa May Alcott - Writer of Little Women
Marian Anderson - Classical singer (contralto). First African American person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.
Maya Angelou - Prolific author, poet, dancer, actress, singer, director, and producer
Susan B. Anthony - Abolitionist, leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, backer of the 19th Amendment
Clara Barton - Founded the American Red Cross
Nellie Bly - Undercover investigative journalist, circled the Earth in 72 days, industrialist and inventor
Mary Bowser - Former slave turned anti-Confederate spy during the Civil War
Pearl S. Buck - Author, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Spread knowledge of Asia and China to the US
Annie Jump Cannon - Astronomer who developed the stellar classification system.
Rachel Carson - Environmentalist, wrote Silent Spring
Mary Cassatt - Painter, one of the original Impressionist painters
Willa Cather - Author, won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours.
Shirley Chisholm - First African American woman elected to Congress, first major-party black candidate for President of the United States
Georgia Neese Clark - Actress, Banker, First woman Treasurer of the United States
Cornelia Clapp - Pre-eminent zoologist of the late 19th century.
Jacqueline Cochran - Aviator and racing pilot. Helped to form the Women’s Auxilliary Army Corps and Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Bessie Coleman - First African-American woman pilot
Emily Dickinson - One of American’s most reknowned poets
Amelia Earhart - Aviator. First woman pilot to cross the Atlantic solo
Mary Baker Eddy - Founder of Christian Science and the Christian Science Monitor.
Gertrude Belle Elion - Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for research into AIDS and immunosuppressants
Ella Fitzgerald - Jazz singer, winner of 14 Grammies
Dian Fossey - Conservationist. Writer of Gorillas in the Mist.
Betty Friedan - Initiated the second wave of 20th century feminism
Katharine Graham - First woman CEO in the Fortune 500, Pulitzer Prize winner, head of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal
Martha Graham - Modern dancer and choreographer. Created the Graham technique for dance. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction
Virginia Hall - WWII spy for British and later with the American CIA. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross
Billie Holiday - Pioneering jazz singer and songwriter.
Grace Murray Hopper - Programmer. Inventor of COBOL and “debugging”
Zora Neale Hurston - Author and influential libertarian, best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Virginia E. Johnson - Pioneer of the medical and scientific investigation of sex and sexual disfunction
Barbara Jordan - First southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives
Christine Jorgenson - First popular voice for transgender issues
Helen Keller - Deaf-blind woman turned author and campaigner for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and pacificism.
Hedy Lamarr - Actress, inventor of frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology
Dorothea Lange - Photojournalist and originator of documentary photography
Mary Lyon - Teacher focused on STEM training for women. Founded Wheaton College and Mount Holyoke College. Provided education to the poor.
Wilma Mankiller - First woman chief of the Cherokee Nation. Improved relations between the US Federal government and Cherokee.
Barbara McClintock - Cytogeneticist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Patsy Mink - First woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress, first Asian American to seek the presidential nomination
Lucretia Mott - Pacifist, women’s rights activist, abolitionist, and writer of the Declaration of Sentiments
Madalyn Murray O’Hair - Activist for atheism. Stopped Bible-reading in schools.
Carrie Nation - Radical member of the temperance movement. Fan of hatchets.
Flannery O’Connor - Southern Gothic writer of Complete Stories, 1972 National Book Award for Fiction.
Georgia O’Keeffe - Artist, “Mother of American Modernism”. Most expensive painting by a woman in the world.
Annie Oakley - Sharpshooter and entertainer from the Wild West. Promoted women in the military and womens self defense.
Dorothy Parker - Editor for The New Yoker, poet and wit, nominee for the Academy Award for Screenplays.
Rosa Parks - Activist, symbol of the Civil Rights Movement
Alice Paul - Principal champion of the 19th Amendment
Frances Perkins - Secretary of Labor, first woman appointed to the US Cabinet, executor of the New Deal
Florence Price - First African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer and have her music played by a major orchestra.
Marion Pritchard - Worked with the Dutch underground movement against the Nazis, estimated to have saved 150 lives through her work
Jeannette Rankin - First woman to hold Federal office, serving two terms in the House of Representatives
Sally Ride - Physicist and astronaut. First American woman in space.
Eleanor Roosevelt - Longest serving First Lady, first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights
Betsy Ross - Creator of the American flag
Deborah Sampson - Served (in disguise) as part of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War
Margaret Sanger - (More-or-less) founder of Planned Parenthood
Susan Sontag - Essayist, writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist
Edna St. Vincent Millay - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and feminist.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Initiated the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements in the United States
Harriet Beecher Stowe - Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Abolitionist.
Ida Tarbell - Pioneer of investigative journalism, muckraker, wrote The History of the Standard Oil Company
Sojourner Truth - Former slave, women’s rights speaker
Harriet Tubman - Former slave, Union spy, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad operator
Elizabeth Van Lew - Abolitionist. Founder and operator of an anti-Confederate spy ring during the Civil War
Mercy Otis Warren - Writer and propagandist of the Revolutionary War. Compiled one of the first histories of the war.
Ida B. Wells - Inventor (?) of data journalism, used data mining to demonstrate the financial causes of the lynching of African Americans
Edith Wharton - Author of The Age of Innocence, first woman Pulitzer Prize winner
Frances Willard - Campaigner for temperance and suffrage. Lead to the creation of the 18th and 19th amendments to the Constitution
Edith Wilson - Functional Executive of the United States 1919-21

Next tally will be EOD Friday, the 5th.

I’ll maintain my original votes:

Rachel Carson - Arguable mass murderer - 2
Mary Baker Eddy - Arguable mass murderer - 2

And I’ll back Carrie Nation for 1 point since I agree that, while colorful, the woman was probably her time’s equivalent to someone like Fred Phelps and, regardless that her aims were less disgusting, religious crazy is still not a thing to reward.

1 - Louisa May Alcott - Wrote one classic novel along with some other stuff. That’s an easy limbo under the bar of greatest.
2 - Frances Willard - Fought against the freedom to consume the demon alcohol. In the short term temperance fueled gang violence, death and illness due to poisoning, and caused incarceration of people that just wanted a beer. In the long term, it was a major contributor to the development of organized crime in the US.
2 - Carrie Nation - See above…but with a lower positive contribution to suffrage because she was too busy being a vigilante.

You are wrong about Carson. This is silly. Somehow you have taken to heart some very twisted things about her efforts that help spark the environmental movement and save a several species of birds.

Did you actually eliminate only one person so far? This is going to take all year.
We like to disprove garbage on this board, so to answer the main argument vs Rachel Carson:

What a very small portion of people are claiming is not accurate at all. They are apparently vocal enough to get their message out but are in no way accepted as correct.

I’ll go with:

Carrie Nation - 1
Mary Baker Eddy - 2
Betsy Ross - 2 - Upholstery and tailoring are nice and all, and she kept the business going through a war and three husbands, but there were many other women who did the same and didn’t get iconizing PR.

2 - Eleanor Roosevelt
2 - Margaret Sanger
1 - Sally Ride

Looks like the New York Times was promoting the theory pretty big in 2006, so it seems to have been a plausible, mainstream angle at the time. It looks like there was a followup bit of research done between then and now that sets out the view that you link to.

Looking at both arguments, I don’t doubt anything in the new information, but I feel like it doesn’t address most of the points raised in the original reports.

I’ll start a GD and stop voting for her after this post. As said, I hadn’t done any personal research on the topic, so I was voting on the basis of there being an argument, and not because I had a personal opinion on the subject.

Hopefully, more voters will join so that it’s easier to go over the top. But I might switch to a rule that the top 50% go out, with ties taking out a swath, just to narrow the field down enough where the votes are less able to spread out and then maybe restore the current rule once we’re down to a smaller batch. Let’s see how the votes are looking after the next tally.

Thanks What Exit?! While there may have been some negatives to the DDT ban, “arguably a mass murderer” hardly applies to Rachel Carson.

My votes

2 for Edith Wilson (again). Woodrow and she were racists, more strongly so than most people of their time–the argument that “everyone was racist back then” doesn’t hold water. They were notable for holding back progress towards racial equality.

1 for Betsy Ross

1 for Dian Fossey (again)

1 for Carrie Nation = she’s out!

2 for Betsy Ross - I don’t think she did much of anything.

2 for Mary Baker Eddy - I think she may have done more damage than good in the (to her unforeseeable) long term.

1 for Louisa May Alcott - I don’t think she did enough to be considered for the win.

2 points for Betsy Ross.

2 points for Dian Fossey.

1 point for Louisa May Alcott.