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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Republican motherhood in the words of women
by Farr, Ivy Elizabeth, M.A., College of Charleston, 2010, 118; 1475871
Abstract (Summary)

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.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Sandra
Commitee: Delay, Cara M., McCandless, Amy, Preston, David
School: College of Charleston
Department: History
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
Publication Number: 1475871
ISBN: 978-1-109-75829-0
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