The Limits of Independence: American Women 1760-1800 (Young Oxford History of Women in the United States)

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9780195124019: The Limits of Independence: American Women 1760-1800 (Young Oxford History of Women in the United States)

The second half of the 18th century saw a handful of English colonies transform themselves into a nation. This process involved not only a revolution against the British crown but also the uniting of a diverse population; in addition to the English who made up the bulk of the population, Africans and continental Europeans joined in the creation of the new republic. Although tradition dictated that the independent male citizen was the most important actor in this drama, political leaders soon learned that the support of women was essential to the success of a republican form of government. Salmon demonstrates the new directions in women's lives, including reforms in education, that occurred during this era of experimentation. She also delineates the ways in which women's lives remained constrained by the racial and cultural assumptions of the age, for while white women's horizons expanded, Native American women and women of African descent suffered greatly.
Educator Judith Sargent Murray, poet Phillis Wheatley, writer and educator Susanna Rowson (who wrote Charlotte Temple, the first American best-seller), and other women--both well-known and unsung--fill the pages of The Limits of Independence, which looks at women's lives during the time of the American Revolution.

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About the Author:


Marylynn Salmon is the author of Women and the Law of Property in Early America and co-author of Inheritance in America: From Colonial Times to the Present. Dr. Salmon is a research associate in the history department at Smith College.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-10-This book focuses not on dates, treaties, and battles, but on the cultural and social circumstances that shaped history. Primary sources and straightforward explanations are used to convey virtually all aspects of colonial, revolutionary, and post-revolutionary America. While it is part of a series on the history of women, the book does not ignore the doings of men at the time. Instead, it gives a picture of a whole society, of which women were an active and integral part. Their influence in domestic and political spheres are illustrated and discussed. In chapters on the sexual division of labor, pregnancy and child rearing, women in religion, and numerous other subjects, Salmon addresses issues rarely covered elsewhere. Her handling of these topics is frank, but never sensationalized. Ethnic and cultural groups-slaves, free blacks, Iroquois, and Quakers, to name just a few-are treated with the same sensitivity. The text explains how these groups interacted with one another and what influences-internal and external-shaped their history. Excerpts from letters and newspaper articles engage readers. These and the carefully chosen black-and-white illustrations and reproductions complement the text. These features and a thorough index enhance the book's readability. Ideal for class discussions, this volume will be useful for reports and leisure reading. It may even have the power to make history buffs of heretofore uninterested students.
Rebecca O'Connell, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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