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Separated by Their SexWomen in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World$
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Mary Beth Norton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449499

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449499.001.0001

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Women and Politics, Eighteenth Century–Style

Women and Politics, Eighteenth Century–Style

(p.109) Chapter 4 Women and Politics, Eighteenth Century–Style
Separated by Their Sex

Mary Beth Norton

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the process of excluding women from the public and political during the eighteenth century. It begins by taking a look at A Letter to a Gentlewoman concerning Government, published in 1697 by an anonymous pamphleteer, and which called on the female gentry to defer to their husbands, brothers, and fathers in political affairs. Although the pamphlet denigrated the female gentry's capacity to comprehend such subjects, its very existence acknowledged that elite women still had political opinions that mattered. This chapter also considers the onset of the change in attitudes toward women and public affairs, and how publications such as The Tatler, The Spectator, New-England Courant, and New-York Weekly Journal questioned women's capacity for politics. Finally, it discusses the Anglo-American debate over women's political role and written evidence of colonial women's reactions to war and politics.

Keywords:   women, public affairs, The Tatler, The Spectator, New-England Courant, New-York Weekly Journal, politics, war

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