Janet Schaw, a gentlewoman from Scotland, traveled the Atlantic world in 1774 and 1775, visiting Antigua, St. Christopher, North Carolina, and Portugal. As she traveled, Schaw wrote an epistolary journal, detailing her thoughts and beliefs regarding the foreign cultures and locales she visited. At first satisfied with critiquing the social and cultural realms in which she was most comfortable, Schaw became embroiled in the turbulent political debate in the British American colonies. The political atmosphere in North Carolina allowed Schaw to declare her own loyalist beliefs. Following the passage of the Continental Association and the suppression of anti-patriot thought, Schaw became increasingly critical of patriot politics and British policies regarding the British American colonies. This microhistory explores the influence of the American public sphere in politicizing Schaw, using this privileged, educated woman as a case study to explore connections between the political atmosphere and the growing popularity of activism in the colonies. Schaw’s education regarding culture, class, and gender necessarily shaped her political views. Schaw viewed the frontier education of men in North Carolina and the ideology of the patriot movement as the principal culprits for the growing popularity of political radicalism. Following the breakdown of the American public sphere in 1775, Schaw focused on the inherent violence of American men and the underwhelming response of Britain to American activism as the catalyst for patriot power. Schaw evolved from a cultural and social critic to a political commentator, signifying the influence of the American public sphere in politicizing both colonists and travelers alike.
|Commitee:||Keirn, Tim, Carlile, Susan|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, International Relations, British and Irish literature|
|Keywords:||American Revolution, American War for Independence, Atlantic History, Epistolary Journal, Janet Schaw, Woman Author|
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