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Leslie Butler
Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH 03755-1808)
American Democracy and the Woman Question, 1830-1880

A book-length study of 19th-century transatlantic debates about democratic government and the role of women and the family in the democratic order.

American Democracy and the Woman Question, 1830-1880 is a work of intellectual history that explores the conceptual intersection of debates over popular government and over the civic role of women and the family. It contends that using the latter as an angle of access on the former reveals a body of political thought largely untapped by historians, especially as it places in conversation the ideas of woman’s rights proponents, opponents, and the far more numerous who were unaligned. It follows debates as they circulated around transatlantic print networks during a pivotal half-century when democratic government came under intense scrutiny. The book will tell a richly textured story that is enduringly relevant in our own day, when explicit invocations of liberty and individual rights are often accompanied by implicit assumptions about the place of the family in the American polity. This project thus dovetails nicely with the Common Good: Humanities in the Public Square initiative.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; U.S. History; Women's History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017