“Remember the Ladies,” Abigail Adams famously implored her husband, John, at the start of the American Revolution. “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.” Her appeal raises the question, what did the national founding mean for women? How did the principles of liberty and equality among citizens impact the more intimate relations of husband and wife or parent and child? How did Revolutionary ideals lead writers to interrogate-or defend-the exclusion of women from many of the privileges of citizenship, such as voting and owning property? In this seminar, particiapnts will discuss a bestselling novel of 1797; a slave’s petition; a pedagogical essay; and brief excerpts from recent scholarship. All of these texts explore the possibilities and risks of extending to women the principles of freedom and self-rule.
Seminar led by Hana Layson, Independent Scholar