Women and Print Culture: The Politicization of Women in the Revolutionary Era and Early Republic
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The Revolutionary and Early Republic periods in the United States were tumultuous times, and created an environment of changing and evolving roles for women. The Revolution and its ideology that stressed liberty and equality provided women with new roles, and influenced the definition of womanhood. After the Revolution, women continued to develop their identities to fit the new wider political arena that emerged in the Early Republic. The Revolution helped change politics in the early Republic; there were more voters, it was more democratic, and the way formal and informal politics worked developed. As politics expanded, women participated in politics more in informal ways, and saw themselves as political beings. The language of the Revolution called for freedom and equality, but the extent that this ideology extended into the new republic and who would be included was still unclear. The Revolution changed women's lives, enabling many women to see themselves as political beings, however, this was limited mostly to middle to upper class white women. However, this shift in women's politicization was not simple, and as the form of government' settled in the Early Republic women's roles as political beings and as actors in the public realm were still limited. It is important to examine the influence of these ideas and look at how this ideology worked in the Early Republic. In examining the lives of women in this period some questions surround the issue of women's politicization. How did the Revolution impact the lives of women? How did Revolutionary. ideology shape the way women wrote about themselves? How was womanhood represented in print culture? And what is the significance of the gap between women's private writings and the print media? In order to understand the politicization of women in the Early Republic, it is important to also look at the definition of womanhood in the larger context of the emerging American culture, and specifically within print culture.
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