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The Fair Sex : White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic - Pauline E. Schloesser

The Fair Sex

White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic

Hardcover Published: 1st October 2001
ISBN: 9780814797631
Number Of Pages: 246

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"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.

Industry Reviews

"This book should be viewed as a jumping-off point to examine the theory of racial patriarchy at different times and places throughout American history." --The Journal of American History "Provides an excellent theory for understanding the mutual constitution of race and gender in the formation of 'women's identity'" --Women & Politics "Schloesser raises issues most Americans would rather ignore." --Social & Behavioral Sciences

Prefacep. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Race, Gender, and Woman Citizenship in the American Foundingp. 1
Toward a Theory of Racial Patriarchyp. 12
The Ideology of the "Fair Sex"p. 53
The Philosopher Queen and the U.S. Constitution: Mercy Otis Warren as a Reluctant Signatoryp. 83
From Revolution to Racial Patriarchy: The Political Pragmatism of Abigail Adamsp. 114
Gleaning a Self between the Lines: Judith Sargent Murray and the American Enlightenmentp. 154
Conclusionp. 187
Epiloguep. 193
Appendixp. 199
Notesp. 203
Bibliographyp. 225
Indexp. 237
About the Authorp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814797631
ISBN-10: 0814797636
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 246
Published: 1st October 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.48