Skip to main content

For the Republic! and so forth (Some Revolutionary War Lady Talk)



I'm reading more about 18th century women's history (yes, American, it's always American unless it's English), and just being GENERALLY enraged most of the time. Some women in the colonies had the right to vote? In New JERSEY? Until it was taken away in 1807. So not even just in the colonies! Into statehood time! 

That's just bananapants and the sort of thing where I'm like, if I did not know this thing, most people will not know it. That could sound condescending, but what it means is obvs that this is most of what I read about. And no one in my books had really thrown that fact around before. Until I was reading Gail Collins's American Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines, which is really great so far and has some A+ anecdotes, like how Margaret Brent basically saved Baltimore.



Honestly, HAD I BUT WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME, I would just spend all my days learning about every single woman who ever lived in history. But life is finite, etc, so I have to narrow my focus, which has pretty much landed on women in America from appx 1850-1920. But mostly 1880-1910. I'm trying to put together a cohesive account of feminist thought in America from the 18th century, but this has just made me realize how little I know about women in America in the 18th century. I've been reading some really great stuff by Judith Sargent Murray, who published On the Equality of the Sexes TWO YEARS before Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman was published in England. 

"What about Abigail Adams, Alice? Didn't she write any women's rights doodads?" You would think so, but NO. NOTHING. Abigail Adams wrote letters to her husband and got offended about everything. That seems to be her prime contribution, aside from the fantastic phrase "remember the ladies," which is basically just a sad phrase, because they obviously didn't.


IT'S OKAY. I mean, it's not, but y'know.

"Ok, but what then," you're probably saying out loud right now, "what then about Mercy Otis Warren?" Again no! Warren definitely wrote a history of the Revolutionary War, and was known as a bluestocking, which is a term I will probably never get tired of, but no, despite living at the right time for this kind of awakening proto-feminist thought, nothing I've seen of hers points to anything like that.

It looks like the primary thing to take away from women of the late 18th century in America, re burgeoning women's rights ideology, is this later-articulated notion of Republican Motherhood, which is basically like "Okay, well we have to be educated to a certain point, or how are we supposed to teach our sons to be fine upstanding citizens in the New Republic?" Which is kind of an early form of what would be argued later in the 19th century when more traditional women were starting to move towards wanting the vote, i.e. "we should have this to protect and uplift the home/domestic sphere."

SHIT'S INTERESTING is what I'm saying.

Comments

  1. Wait, so women in NJ had the right to vote and then it was decided "Nah, can't have that" and it was taken away??? WTF. Not only that that happened but also that I was never taught that in NJ schools.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier: DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE

Daphne Du Maurier's 1951 My Cousin Rachel prompts the age-old question: what if you were a young dumb dumb with an estate in Cornwall who is convinced your charming, thoughtful, and recently-widowed cousin Rachel wants to abandon her native Italy forever and live with you, your dogs, and your elderly butler in a damp house by the sea. AFTER ALL WHO WOULDN'T.

Also she's a widow because she'd married your uncle who raised you who then recently died, so also this has just become the MOST oedipal and makes everyone feel gross thinking about it.




Said dumb dumb is Philip Ashley, who is 24 and aptly referred to in the recent film version as a "glorious puppy." He is so excited about some things. And so sulky about so many other things. He's our narrator, which here means he is our misogynistic, xenophobic lens through which to view all events. His uncle died in Italy soon after marrying Rachel. Said uncle suspected he was being poisoned. He also probably had a bra…