Catalogue


The fair sex : white women and racial patriarchy in the early American Republic /
Pauline Schloesser.
imprint
New York : New York University Press, c2002.
description
xii, 243 p.
ISBN
0814797636 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : New York University Press, c2002.
isbn
0814797636 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4670102
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Pauline Schloesser is Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas Southern University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-10-01:
An analysis of the intersections of the racial and gender ideas of the Founding Fathers' generation has long been wanting. Schloesser (political science, Texas Southern Univ.) fills that gap as she traces the emergence of a "racial patriarchy" through the writings of Mercy Otis Warren, Abigail Adams, and Judith Sargent Murray. Warren, Adams, and Murray appear "for the first time as white and Anglophilic, as well as gendered subjects." Schloesser claims that these three women, and others of their class, walked "on a tightrope between racial privilege and gender oppression," yet ultimately accepted the limits embodied in the "fair sex" ideology. Deserting their earlier protestations about political equality and racial justice, they chose to maintain their position as white women of privilege in the social and racial hierarchy of the new republic. While the book still reads much like a doctoral dissertation and assumes a familiarity with the interpretations of historians such as Linda Kerber, Mary Beth Norton, Marylynn Salmon, Joan Hoff, and others who work in this field, it is well worth the effort and is recommended even for undergraduate students, because Schloesser raises issues most Americans would rather ignore. C. M. McGovern Frostburg State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An interesting book for anyone who is interested in the history of venereal disease. It provides some interesting facts to consider about women and venereal disease and makes the reader aware that women have taken a bad rap for many centuries and that bad rap is slowly being transferred to the gays in this age of AIDS. Recommended for all academic and medical libraries." - AIDS Book Review Journal
"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."
"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
"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
"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, makeThe Fair Sexa major work in political theory and American intellectual history." - Patrick James, Political Science, University of Missouri Columbia
"Provides an excellent theory for understanding the mutual constitution of race and gender in the formation of 'women's identity.'"
"Provides an excellent theory for understanding the mutual constitution of race and gender in the formation of 'women's identity.'" - Women & Politics
"Provides an excellent theory for understanding the mutual constitution of race and gender in the formation of 'women's identity.'" -Women & Politics
"Schloesser's theory of racial patriarchy repositions America's founding mothers Mercy Warren, Abigail Adams, Judith Murrayat 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."
"Schloesser's theory of racial patriarchy repositions America's founding mothers Mercy Warren, Abigail Adams, Judith Murrayat 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
"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."
"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
"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
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In early American history, white women were encouraged to consider themselves the moral and intellectual superiors to non-whites, unruly men and children. Empowered by race and class but limited by gender, they helped perpetuate racial domination.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002Once 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.
Main Description
Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002 "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 SciencesOnce 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.
Main Description
Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2002This 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 HistoryProvides an excellent theory for understanding the mutual constitution of race and gender in the formation of 'women's identity'--Women & PoliticsSchloesser raises issues most Americans would rather ignore.--Social & Behavioral SciencesOnce 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.
Main Description
In 1497 the local council of a small town in Scotland issued an order that all light women--women suspected of prostitution-- be branded with a hot iron on their face. In late eighteenth- century England, the body of the prostitute became almost synonymous with venereal disease as doctors drew up detailed descriptions of the abnormal and degenerate traits of fallen women. Throughout much of history, popular and medical knowledge has held women, especially promiscuous women, as the source of venereal disease. In Feminizing Venereal Disease , Mary Spongberg provides a critical examination of this practice by examining the construction of venereal disease in 19th century Britain. Spongberg argues that despite the efforts of doctors to treat medicine as a pure science, medical knowledge was greatly influenced by cultural assumptions and social and moral codes. By revealing the symbolic importance of the prostitute as the source of social disease in Victorian England, Spongberg presents a forceful argument about the gendering of nineteenth- century medicine. In a fascinating use of history to enlighten contemporary discourse, the book concludes with a compelling discussion of the impact of Victorian notions of the body on current discussions of HIV/AIDS, arguing that AIDS, like syphilis in the nineteenth century, has become a feminized disease.
Table of Contents
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.

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