A Survey of American History

San Francisco’s Queen of Vice: The Strange Career of Abortionist
Inez Brown Burns

This assignment is to be no less than 1500 words, double-spaced, 12pt font.
Spelling, grammar and style all count toward your grade, so please proofread your
work. Use in-text citations, for example (Riggin, p. 135). Please refer to your grading rubric for guidance on how you will be assessed.

This essay is based on your reading of the text San Francisco’s Queen of Vice by Riggin. This is not a paper to argue the abortion question, crime and corruption, or the struggle for women’s rights in America – even though you will be incorporating these topics into your essay. After you have read this text, write a thoughtful essay answering the following questions, making sure to use evidence and quotes from the text to support your arguments. This is the only book required for this assignment; outside sources for reference are allowed and welcomed.

**Note of sources: Only academic sources are allowed. For example, do not use Wikipedia.

Helpful notes: Read the Evaluation of Essays that is posted along with the grading rubric for this assignment. It is also helpful to outline your paper before you start to write. Write carefully and clearly – taking care not to repeat yourself. Make sure you have a strong introduction, clear transitions, and well-developed conclusion. Be sure to use spell-check. Read your paper before you submit it to be sure you have no foolish mistakes.

Keep in mind the following points:

• Write in the third person narrative – avoid first person, although and occasional “I” in the essay is acceptable.

• When in doubt always cite! If you are unsure whether your paraphrasing should be cited (it almost always should), then cite. The only aspects that don’t need to be cited are the ones, which are your original analysis.

• DON’T string together multiple quotes (this will result in a very high negative originality score and a very low grade).

• DO analyze your quotes; DO put them in historic context; DO explain the actors and audience; DO explain how they connect to your overall argument and to each other.

In any order answer at least 2 of the 3 following questions in your essay:

  1. Following World War II there is a general move toward a more traditional America. Using San Francisco (a city known for its vice and corruption) as an example, analyze how District Attorney Pat Brown attempts to implement this conservativeness as the first step in his political rise. How successful was he? Does it appear to be long term?
  2. The text details the life of abortionist Inez Burns from the turn of the century forward. Using what you have learned in this class of the expected roles for women, examine how Burns defies these expectations, compare and contrast her to the other female characters in the book, and finally, assess her successes and failures. Are these successes and failures due specifically to the role changes or expectations for women, or is it the rules (social mores) of society in general have changed?
  3. Look at the struggle of the powerful men represented here (District Attorney Pat Brown, Tom Lynch, etc.) to end the corruption, which they see as initiated by Inez Burns. With Burns finished, do they go after the men involved in vice? Why or why not? Finally, what is the underlining reason for the U.S. Senate committee’s involvement?

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