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The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic Hardcover – October 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0814797631 ISBN-10: 0814797636 Edition: First Edition

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Editorial Reviews


“Schloesser’s theory of racial patriarchy repositions America's founding mothers —Mercy Warren, Abigail Adams, Judith Murray—at the intersections of racial privilege and gender oppression. Drawing on Habermas’s discourse theory, she reveals the racial contract implicit in their efforts to participate as equal citizens. The Fair Sex offers a new perspective on the intersections of class, gender, and race from the American Founding to the present day.”
-Nancy S. Love,Associate Professor of Political Science

"Combining methodologies from history and political science, Pauline Schloesser has developed a most sophisticated and convincing interpretation of how the founding fathers constructed a theory of racial patriarchy supported by an ‘ideology of the fair sex.’ Her analysis of the political thought of Mercy Warren, Abigail Adams, and Judith Sargent Murray demonstrates that even these three independent thinkers accepted the gender and ethnic hierarchy handed them by the founders in order to protect their own racial and class privilege as white women.”
-Joan Hoff,Professor of History, College of William and Mary

“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

“Pauline Schloesser’s work on racial patriarchy is pathbreaking in its association of concepts that previously have been studied in near-isolation from each other. The book makes compelling use of primary sources, most notably private correspondence, to provide a sense of how women in elite positions saw themselves and their society in the context of both race and gender relations. The book establishes the presence of a social contract in which Anglo-American women were encouraged to accept subordination within an existing conservative order in exchange for a position of moral and intellectual superiority, most notably over non-whites. Schloesser’s innovative concept of racial patriarchy, along with an impressive foundation in research, make The Fair Sex a major work in political theory and American intellectual history.”

-Patrick James,Political Science, University of Missouri Columbia

About the Author

Pauline Schloesser is Associate Professor of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.

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The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic
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