The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic

The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic

by Pauline E. Schloesser, Pauline Scholesser
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814797628

ISBN-13: 9780814797624

Pub. Date: 10/01/2005

Publisher: New York University Press

Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002

Once the egalitarian passions of the American Revolution had dimmed, the new nation settled into a conservative period that saw the legal and social subordination of women and non-white men. Among the Founders who brought the fledgling government into being were those who sought to establish order through the

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Overview

Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002

Once the egalitarian passions of the American Revolution had dimmed, the new nation settled into a conservative period that saw the legal and social subordination of women and non-white men. Among the Founders who brought the fledgling government into being were those who sought to establish order through the reconstruction of racial and gender hierarchies. In this effort they enlisted “the fair sex,”&#—white women. Politicians, ministers, writers, husbands, fathers and brothers entreated Anglo-American women to assume responsibility for the nation's virtue. Thus, although disfranchised, they served an important national function, that of civilizing non-citizen. They were encouraged to consider themselves the moral and intellectual superiors to non-whites, unruly men, and children. These white women were empowered by race and ethnicity, and class, but limited by gender. And in seeking to maintain their advantages, they helped perpetuate the system of racial domination by refusing to support the liberation of others from literal slavery.

Schloesser examines the lives and writings of three female political intellectuals—;Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Smith Adams, and Judith Sargent Murray—;each of whom was acutely aware of their tenuous position in the founding era of the republic. Carefully negotiating the gender and racial hierarchies of the nation, they at varying times asserted their rights and demurred to male governance. In their public and private actions they represented the paradigm of racial patriarchy at its most complex and its most conflicted.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814797624
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
243
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Race, Gender, and Woman Citizenship in the American Founding
2 Toward a Theory of Racial Patriarchy
3 The Ideology of the “Fair Sex”
4 The Philosopher Queen and the U.S. Constitution: Mercy Otis Warren as a Reluctant Signatory
5 From Revolution to Racial Patriarchy: The Political Pragmatism of Abigail Adams
6 Gleaning a Self between the Lines: Judith Sargent Murray and the American Enlightenment
7 Conclusion
Epilogue
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

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