When Hens Crow: The Woman's Rights Movement in Antebellum America

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Indiana University Press, 2001 - Political Science - 168 pages
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"[When Hens Crow] looks in an original way at the ideas of the first feminists... a pioneering work, written in a clear style and firmly grounded in recent scholarship...." —Journal of American History

In 1852 the New York Daily Herald described leaders of the woman’s rights movement as "hens that crow." Using speeches, pamphlets, newspaper reports, editorials, and personal papers, Sylvia Hoffert discusses how ideology, language, and strategies of early woman’s rights advocates influenced a new political culture grudgingly inclusive of women. She shows the impact of philosophies of republicanism, natural rights, utilitarianism, and the Scottish Common Sense School in helping activists move beyond the limits of Republican Motherhood and the ideals of domesticity and benevolence.

When Hens Crow also illustrates the work of the penny press in spreading the demands of woman’s rights advocates to a wide audience, establishing the competence of women to contribute to public discourse and public life.

  

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When hens crow: the woman's rights movements in antebellum America

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Employing speeches, tracts, pamphlets, newspaper reports, and editorials, Hoffert (women's history, Southwest Missouri State Univ.) explores how the pre-Civil War feminists publicly challenged men to a fight and thus forced them to acknowledge that women could enter the fields dominated by men. Read full review

Contents

The Advocates
15
The Ideology
32
The Language
53
The Strategy
73
The Responses
91
Conclusion
116
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Sylvia D. Hoffert is professor of history and women's studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is author of "When Hens Crow: The Woman's Rights Movement in Antebellum America" and "Private Matters: American Attitudes toward Childbearing and Infant Nurture in the Urban North, 1800-1860.

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