02-First Wave Feminism Discovered

02-First Wave Feminism Discovered - First Wave Feminism...

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1 First Wave Feminism and the Emergence of the New Woman HST/WMS 389 Fall 2009 Professor Lavender First Wave Feminism then… • Primary (public) focus on female citizenship – So, Abigail Adams’s “Remember the Ladies!” – And the suffrage movement • But also (less public, less clearly identified as “feminist”) focus on challenging assumptions about women’s “essential natures” – In this way, very much in line with Wollstonecraft and Mill, both of whom were much-read by First Wave feminists. Abolitionism and Feminism • First Wave Feminist activism grew out of Abolitionism – Which in itself led to the rise of a suffragist movement • Originally to ensure the ending of slavery – Because it was assumed that women as a group would end slavery if given the vote • But later as a basic human right – That had been denied women politically – In this latter sense, it needed to disprove theories about women’s supposed inability to exercise citizenship on their own behalf. Abolitionism as both Inspiration and Experience • Women’s moral opposition to slavery – Part of Second Great Awakening • But also source for political experience – In abolitionist societies • Such as the Boston Women’s Antislavery Society – And as a place where women’s discourse could be heard • In part because of the support of leaders like William Lloyd Garrison • And because women were speaking to OTHER women as well as society as a whole. Women’s Voices in Abolitionism • One of the chief sites where women’s political voices can be heard in nineteenth- century America • And even more interesting, a site where women of broad class and race backgrounds leave their publicly- expressed political thoughts behind for us to rediscover. Maria W. Stewart (1803-79) • One America's first black women political writers. • In 1832, in Boston, she mounted lecture platform to speak to assembled crowd of men and women (promiscuous assembly) against the colonization movement, a scheme to expatriate black Americans back to West Africa. • Her public career was barely 3 years long.
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2 Maria W. Stewart • After husband (a free black shipfitter) died in 1829, underwent religious conversion and gave self over to career of secular ministry of political and religious witness. • Stewart published a political pamphlet, a collection of religious meditations and delivered 4 public lectures which were later printed. • Took public stage after the mysterious death of David Walker, a black Boston author of an inflammatory pamphlet “Walker's Appeal,” a call for slave rebellion in the American South. Maria W. Stewart • Stewart knew that she too faced danger for her unpopular political and abolitionist beliefs, perhaps especially because of her race. • "Many will suffer for pleading the cause of
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course WOST 280 taught by Professor Stephanieallen during the Spring '12 term at Purdue.

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02-First Wave Feminism Discovered - First Wave Feminism...

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