Since Linda Kerber published her influential book Women of the Republic in 1985, historians have characterized women of the early national period as "republican mothers," but to what extent did women themselves internalize the ideal? This study examines the prescriptive literature and private letters written by Benjamin Rush, who modern historians tout as one of the greatest supporters of republican motherhood, in contrast to the letters of one prominent Philadelphia woman, Esther Bowes Cox. Cox's background as a Patriot, a member of the upper class, and a friend of Benjamin Rush, prepared her well to support the ideal Linda Kerber calls republican motherhood, and yet, she did not. Furthermore, close examination of Rush's writings reveals that he advocated more practical education for women rather than political involvement in the new nation. This research challenges the widely accepted concept of republican motherhood and suggests that historians should reexamine the roles and interests of women in the Early Republic.
|Commitee:||Delay, Cara M., McCandless, Amy, Preston, David|
|School:||College of Charleston|
|School Location:||United States -- South Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 48/05M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Womens studies|
|Keywords:||Chesnut, Charles Waddell, Cox, Esther Bowes, Early Republic, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Republican motherhood, Rush, Benjamin|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be