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The Public Universal FriendJemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America$
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Paul B. Moyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454134

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454134.001.0001

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(p.140) Chapter 6 Acts
The Public Universal Friend

Paul B. Moyer

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses French noblemen Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt's criticism of the Public Universal Friend. He claimed that Jemima Wilkinson's “hypocrisy may be traced in all her discourses, actions, and conduct, and even in the very manner in which she manages her countenance.” He also said that she was a woman who upended gender norms through her assumption of spiritual and domestic authority. This critic shows that much of the objections to the Universal Friend and her adherents often focused on how they translated their convictions into practice. Through a variety of acts, such as establishing households and building families, the Universal Friends created a domestic order that deviated from mainstream society in subtle but significant ways.

Keywords:   Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Public Universal Friend, Jemima Wilkinson, gender norms, convictions, practice, mainstream society

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