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Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)

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ISBN-13: 978-0807846322
ISBN-10: 0807846325
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Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) + Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800 + The Radicalism of the American Revolution
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Editorial Reviews

Review

[F]oundation text in women's history, "Women of the Republic" fuses innovation with centrality, clarity of style with sophistication of analysis. Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, University of Michigan

Review

Kerber has made a distinguished contribution to our understanding of the American Revolution as a continuing, never completed, movement for equality.--Richard B. Morris, Columbia University

|Kerber's beautifully illustrated book makes for a more profound understanding of women's past.--Pauline Maier, New York Times Book Review

|Linda Kerber's Women of the Republic has been a major contribution to our understanding of American political thought, particularly in its relationship to the political role of women. It broke new ground when it appeared, and is now the standard work for its subject.--Anne Firor Scott, Duke University

|Kerber finds that because men of the revolutionary generation were unable to think of women as equal partners in their political movement, American women had to invent their own ideology. In this elegant and eminently readable intellectual history, she reconstructs that ideology not only from sources written by women, but from law and from a close study of linguistic, literary and pictorial symbols. . . . A major contribution to the history of American ideas.--Gerda Lerner, Washington Post

|This is a book that continues to open vistas to the American Revolution. It is indispensable to understanding the many-sided radicalism and conservatism of the era. My copy is dog-eared and tattered with use.--Alfred Young, Newberry Library

|A foundation text in women's history, Women of the Republic fuses innovation with centrality, clarity of style with sophistication of analysis. It demonstrates the centrality of women's history to political history, of Republican Mothers to the world the Founding Fathers thought they built alone.--Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, University of Michigan

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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (February 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807846325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807846322
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ball State Grad-RMN on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
Linda K. Kerber's Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America presents a unique analysis of the affect of the American Revolution on the status of women in the early Republic. Kerber draws the majority of her evidence from "letters[,] diaries, court records, petitions to legislatures, pamphlets, and books" (xi). Interestingly, Kerber claims that the historical establishment has long ignored the valuable information these documents provide about women during this period. Kerber organizes this text topically into nine chapters and includes numerous illustrations, an index, a short section on sources, and footnotes. Kerber's primary thesis is that women played an essential role in the war effort and on the home front, and to ignore their experiences and contributions impedes the historical understanding of this period. Kerber also argues that the American Revolution was immediately, much more beneficial for men, than it was for women.
In the first chapter of Women of the Republic, Kerber discusses the how the philosophical foundations of the American Revolution did not establish a place for women in the public sphere of a republic. According to Kerber, Enlightenment philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke, who influenced revolutionary thought in the colonies, focused solely on the role men would play in a republic. When these philosophers did mention women, they often relegated them to subservience. For instance, Hobbes saw the state as a "male enterprise" and went on to write that men "are naturally fitter than women...for actions of labour [sic] and danger" (16, 17). Despite his condemnation of the contemporary social order, Rousseau advocated a similar position for women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christina Cook on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
First off- if you aren't interested in history, don't read this. It is a truly academic book, not light reading. However, if this subject matter interests you, it is really incredible. Too often do people forget that women were half of the population then as well as now, and their perspectives and evolved ideology during this era are discussed at length. Kerber hammers away at her analysis again and again, and really stresses the idea of "Republican Motherhood". This is the story of how women, who were denied rights as citizens and even as human beings to a large extent, invented a new role in the wake of a revolution that stressed the principles of equality and fair representation. This new role was a renewed purpose as mothers; suddenly women had a duty to become well-educated and emphasize virtue, in order to become fit enough to instill American values into patriotic sons. Obviously, this new ideal had its negatives and positives, and further set the stage for women's struggles to come. Kerber also focuses on the issues of divorce, coverture, and education. She uses as evidence a wide variety of case studies that fascinate and illuminate a period of time when many other history books seem to have forgotten women existed at all. Bravo, Kerber!
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22 of 43 people found the following review helpful By inthesouthwest on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Kerber effectively demonstrates the limits of women's roles at the outset of the American Revolution and shows how these roles changed. For instance, Enlightenment thinkers, such as Rousseau, thought that women should be confined to politically passive domestic duties (a view which prevailed at the beginning of the Revolution). Kerber focuses on several women--Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adams and Mary Wollstonecraft--who exeplified politically active women that defied these 'Enlightenment' views. Though these women were the exception, they influenced other women that it was acceptible to be politically informed and still excell in their domestic duties. According to Kerber, this led to a political transformation of women's roles termed "Republican Motherhood," a concept that encouraged women to be informed politically and use their domestic influence to raise virtuous republican sons, and to politically influence brothers, husbands and fathers. This transformation from politically inactive domestic roles to active, Kerber argues, laid the foundation for the women's rights and abolitionist's movements.
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6 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Persac on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
personally i felt the book sucked, was long, boring, etc.

however, it is very well written, arguments are backed, etc. Kerber wrote a masterpeice if this subject interest you.

i only read it for class. so if your looking for some quick info about the book:

the main point of it is republican motherhood: the idea that women in the revolution could have a political influence, without being able to vote, by shaping the ideals and morals of their children, boys to vote and lead, and the girls to raise other good boys.

i would definately read the entire introduction 2 times as it overviews the whole book. the last 10 pages are worth reading too
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4 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Niery on August 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for class. FREAKING BORING. the happiest day of the summer was the day i finished this book.
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Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
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