Literary Analysis: Roberts' Biographies Essay

Literary Analysis: Roberts' Biographies Essay

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Roberts women serve to illustrate the points made by Kerber…. The two assigned texts took different approaches to the subject of women of the new Republic. Linda Kerber’s book, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980) took an analytical methodology to the issues of the pre- and post-Republican period. Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation (New York: William Morrow, 2008) by Cokie Roberts had an historical, narrative approach. A predominant theme of both books was the integration of women’s roles in the political and domestic spheres. Most of the attention in these books was on the life of the well-to-do and little emphasis on the slave women. For these elite women, life before the war was primarily focused on home life. When the Revolution exploded into their lives, a period of unimaginable disruption, confusion, and devastation followed and women’s lives were forever altered. Many lost their homes from the ravages of battle and others as a result of confiscation laws. During the Revolution, women added new responsibilities to their traditionally female duties. Women were expanding their roles again – they were now responsible for rebuilding their lives in the post-Revolutionary political climate. It was an energizing time for women; a time when they could establish their own character in the home, in the American political world, and on the world stage. Two challenges women faced were defining their domestic roles and discovering their political voices. Integrating these two realms was both a challenge and an opportunity.
Roberts’ biographies showed a consistent pattern among the women – they were weaving the political and domestic...


... middle of paper ...


...y astute Dolley Madison used her charisma to gain Elizabeth Merry’s friendship and mitigated the tense situation.
Women were expressing their political opinions, but their views were still primarily communicated in private. Although often very outspoken, women’s spoke predominately in the drawing rooms, correspondence and among close friends and relations. Collective action was limited and women had no real influence on political decisions. (Kerber 12). The writer known only as the “Female Advocate” spoke for many when she said: ”Say now, shall woman be forever destined solely to the distaff and the needle, and never expand an idea beyond the walls of her house?” (Kerber 277) The years following the Revolution were a time when women were pushing beyond these boundaries and setting the stage for the continuation of women’s fights for further freedom and rights.


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