'That Minds Are Not Alike': Implications of Gendered Literacy and Education in Revolutionary America
Type of DegreeThesis
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In its most basic form, literacy is just a knowledge of letters; it was (and remains today) a basic goal of primary education. The early American educational system is intriguing because of its subtle ways of reinforcing social roles, especially in regards to women’s education. In the late eighteenth century, women were simply seen as convenient vehicles for the transmission of literacy to younger (especially male) generations. I argue that some women, such as Judith Sargent Murray, were not only aware of these obstacles, but used them in an effort to attain intellectual, social, and political freedom.