Analysis Of Benjamin Rush's Speech On The Education Of Women In America

1003 Words5 Pages
After the Revolutionary War, the major debate in America was over how the newly independent nation would be different from Great Britain. Individuals held differing opinions on how to establish a distinct country from the one it won independence from. One of which was Benjamin Rush, an expert in medicine and republican who believed that republicanism would bring reforms to American society and morality. Rush advocated for the education of women in America, in a time period when academically educated women was looked down upon by society. However, despite Rush’s seemingly progressive support of women’s education, he is only in favor of it for the benefit of males and the creation of an American society different from the British. Women during…show more content…
Instead, women were expected to be merely a hardworking wife in the house. However, Benjamin Rush, advocates for the education of women in his essay addressed to The Visitors of the Young Ladies’ Academy in Philadelphia. With his audience consisting of females attending an academy, he focuses the subject of his speech on the support of education of women. In order to appeal to his audience, he calls men who may oppose the “elevation of the female mind” as having the “prejudice of little minds”. To end his speech to the The Visitors of the Young Ladies’ Academy in Philadelphia, he promises to “correct the mistakes and practice of [his] sex”. He also assures to demonstrate that “female temper can only be governed by reason” and that same reason is “friendly to the order of nature,…to…show more content…
Since he wrote his speech after America won independence through the Revolutionary War, influences from recently fought battle against Britain are prevalent in his writings. He holds an anti-British overtone throughout his essay, which is displayed through his wish to educate women with “principles very different from… Great Britain” and his disproval of women reading “British novels”. He piques patriotic feelings from his audience by stating that “British customs” of “female education” had “been transplanted into [their] American schools and families” and that it was “high time to awake from this serenity” by giving women more “peculiar mode of education”. Rush uses the education of females as a way for America to become a different entity from its mother country in government and “state of society” instead of a progressive step for the role of women. Furthermore, he calls advancements in female education as “ornamental accomplishments” that would “yield to principles and knowledge” in America, revealing that he sees the education of women simply as an possible American achievement that would set the country apart from Great
Open Document