04 Apr

Margaret A. Nash, Women’s Education in the United States, 1780-1840 (2005)

 Women’s Education in the United States, 1780-1840 examines “how women’s opportunities for higher education progressed from the scattered and short-lived academies of the late-eighteenth century to the permanent and highly academic seminaries of the antebellum era” (4). Margaret Nash argues that these early academies institutionalized women’s right to education and set “in motion a commitment to accesses to equal education for women” (116). Academics in the early American Republic catered to white, middle-class women and upheld notions of intellectual equality. Many women and men, teacher and students, valued learning for learning’s sake.


Chapters 2 and 3 examine the theories behind women’s education and the actual educational practices of women immediately after the American Revolution. Women’s education was discussed in terms of Enlightenment rationalism. Americans who supported female’s capacity to learn drew on John Locke’s theory of child development. Lock suggested that males and females possessed equal potential in education. Locke described the infant’s mind as a tabula rasa, or a blank state, that could be influenced by teachers and parents. Locke advocated the same education for males and females since both were equally capable of harnessing the powers of reason. Americans also drew on René Descartes and François Poullain de la Barre, to support their arguments that women enjoyed intellectual equality. Others looked to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Emile, or on Education to support their arguments that men and women possessed intellectual differences based on biological capabilities.

Women’s education was also discussed in terms of civic republicanism. Nationalists, like Noah Webster and Benjamin Rush, recognized the role of women in educating moral, intelligent, and unified citizens. According to this logic, women needed to be properly educated so they could instruct the next generations of American citizens. Women held power over their husbands, other men, and children and, therefore, could shape the virtue of citizens and the nation. Women’s education was also discussed in terms of the personal rewards of education. According to Nash, these rewards included: the pure pleasures of learning; the ability of education and arts to bring one closer to the divine and a Protestant ethos; helping women cope with harsh marriages; improving household management; and supporting self-sufficiency. Discussions and practices of women’s education immediately after the American Revolution reflected “both the rhetoric of human rights and Enlightenment ideals about intellectual equality” (12).

Chapter 3 examines the academic and non-academic subjects of men’s and women’s academies of the early national period. Nash argues that because of beliefs about Enlightenment rationalism and civic republicanism, pedagogy and curricula were similar for both men and women in most academies. Chapter 4 investigates the relationship between class and female education. Nash argues that women viewed education as part of their emerging “middle-class” identity. Education was an emblem of class society. Americans also justified women’s education because it was related to evangelicals’ emphasis on education for the Christian progress of the nation. Chapter 5 argues that women pursued education because they yearned to learn. Chapter 6 examines the ways women’s education was bounded by race and class for the creation of a white middle-class.


Women’s Education in the United States elevates the study of women’s education in the early American Republic. Nash makes key theoretical moves that historians should imitate. First, Nash situates the most famous female academies and their founders (Catherine Beecher’s Hartford Theological Seminary, Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary, and Mary Lyon’s Mount Holyoke Female Seminary) within the larger female academy movement from the 1790s to 1840s. Nash argues that while well-known, these schools are no different in terms of curriculum and pedagogy than other female academies. This allows historians to understand that thousands of girls and women pursued education during this time as part of their middle-class identity. It also helps historians to see how male and female educators supported women’s education. Looking at an array of academies also allows scholars to see Troy, Hartford, and Mount Holyoke in their own context and not simply as precursors to women’s higher education in post-bellum America. These three schools were all founded by 1840. Thus, rather than a beginning, these schools mark a pinnacle in women’s education. Situating these schools in their own context also helps historians realize that these schools were not inferior to later women’s colleges or men’s schools of the same period. These three schools were a part of the flourishing of women’s higher education in the early Republic, not just the forerunners of higher education.

Nash also challenges historians to look beyond the ideology of separate spheres as they examine female education in the early American republic. Historians often deem these early academies as inferior because they examine these schools through the lens of the ideology of separate spheres. This ideology assumes that there was a strong distinction between male and female education. This has led scholars to assume that either women were intellectually inferior to men, women’s schools were intellectually inferior to men’s schools, or that the larger public did not support women’s education. Nash reminds scholars that the reality of the ideology of separate spheres has been challenged. Advice literature argued for this division, but many women did not adhere to it. Moreover, the ideology of separate spheres has been challenged because of its reliance on the clear distinctions between public and private. Scholars have shown that these lines were fuzzy at best. The lines between public and private were permeable and constantly negotiated.

Nash argues that the ideology of separate spheres has harmed studies of women’s education. It assumes that women were being trained for passive, familial roles. Thus, historians examine schools for their ability to transcend or confer domestic ideology to female students. The ideology of separate spheres has also dismissed the public and private nature of academies.

Nash concludes that historians should move beyond study the ideology of separate spheres when they study women’s education in the early American Republic. This moving beyond recognizes that the phrase “woman’s sphere” was used throughout the nineteenth century. But, it also recognizes that the phrase was not clearly defined in society or individual’s minds. Thus, “using ‘separate spheres’ ideology limits our understanding to explain women’s education in this period because it necessarily limits outs understand both of education and of the construction of gender” (12).

Despite Nash’s insistence and willingness to move beyond the ideology of separate spheres, she does not always do so. This is particularly clear in her reading of Catherine Beecher. Nash makes it clear that historians have misread the ideology of separate spheres. Actual nineteenth-century women did not relegate their activities to the private, or domestic sphere. Nevertheless, Nash argues that Beecher espoused the ideology. By this phrase, Beecher meant that “women should concern themselves with the ‘private sphere’ of home and children, while men should involve themselves in the ‘public sphere’ of paid employment outside the home and in the realms of politics and government” (2-3). Did Beecher actually say this? No. Scholars have traced this reading of the ideology to Engels and Marx’s critique of capitalism which imbibed their own readings of separate spheres into capitalism. Moreover, Beecher did not say this because she did not use the phrase “separate spheres.” If historians want to transcend separate sphere ideology they must stop attributing the phrase and its connotations to nineteenth-century women. Beecher, like other women did use the phrase “women’s sphere.” As Nash notes in her conclusion, Beecher used this phrase to talk about the domestic and social roles of women. These social roles included the professionalization of teaching and missionizing which were not private or domestic. Nevertheless, Nash concludes that for Beecher the woman’s sphere was the home and classroom. Beecher though that “women should leave the realm of politics to men.” By politics Nash seems to mean the public sphere. Nash, like other historians, re-inscribe Beecher in the realm of separate spheres. Beecher cannot escape because historians will not read her work without the lens of separate spheres. Historians must ask what nineteenth-century Americans meant by “woman’s sphere,” politics, and religion to really transcend “separate spheres” ideology. Despite Nash’s own ability to move beyond the spheres in her reading of Beecher, her work is an important contribution to studies of women’s education and religion in the early American Republic.

03 Apr

Robert N. Bellah, “Civil Religion in America” (1967)

“Civil Religion in America” examines Presidential addresses from Lincoln and Kennedy. Bellah argues that American civil religion is distinct from American religions and that it exhibits the defining characteristics and features of religion.


The phrase “civil religion” comes from Rousseau’s The Social Contract. There Rousseau argued that civil religion recognized: 1) the existence of God; 2) the life to come; 3) the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice; and 4) and the exclusion of religious intolerance. Civil religion for Rousseau was meant to unify the state, give authority to the state, and act as a binding force for members of society who practiced individual religions. America’s Founding Fathers did not rely on Rousseau’s phrase, but the ideas circulated among them. At the center of American civil religion is “a collection of beliefs, symbols, and rituals with respect to sacred things and institutionalized in a collectivity” (8). While Bellah does not examine the emergence of American civil religion in the early Republic, he does look to the Founding Fathers and Presidential addresses to tease out its characteristics. 1) God is central. He is uitarian (yes, little “u”). He is austere and focuses on order, laws, and rights of human. He is not defined in terms of love and salvation. This God is not a deist. The founding documents recognized God as active in American history. 2) America is central because America is the new Israel, which can be rewarded or punished. 3) American Civil Religion centers on sacred, historical events like the American Revolution and the Civil War. 4) It has sacred scriptures like the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. 5) It has sacred heroes and martyrs like Washington and Lincoln. 6) It focuses on the sacred theme of sacrifice. 7) It has sacred places like the Capital, battlefields, and cemeteries. 8) It has rituals practiced on sacred days, like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, and the Fourth of July. Bellah does not talks so much about the afterlife in American civil religion. But, one could argues that it is there.

Civil religion, Bellah argues, “at its best is a genuine apprehension of universal and transcendent religious reality as seen in or, one could almost say, as revealed through the experiences of the American people” (12). American civil religion is not anti-clerical or militantly secular. It borrows from the traditions of American religions and most Americans see no difference between them. Sometimes Americans disagree with American civil religion. Sometimes American civil religion upholds equality in the face of oppression. “The civil religion has exercised long-term pressure for the humane solution of our greatest domestic problem, the treatment of the Negro American” (15).

Civil religion changes and in the 1960s was involved in theoretical and theological redefinitions of which it was not aware. Americans challenged the centrality of God in America. Bellah argued that this would impact American civil religion: “If the whole God symbolism requires reformulation, there will be obvious consequences for the civil religion, consequences perhaps of liberal alienation and of fundamentalist ossification that have not so far been prominent in this realm” (15). Civil religion has helped America think and act through its most serious situations, including independence and slavery. The next issue to consider is what American civil religion will mean for the United States in the world. If America seeks after unlimited power and empire then, Americans must think about how American civil religion with affect the world. Americans would have to incorporate new international symbolism in civil religion. Bellah thinks this can be done: “Fortunately, since the American civil religion is not the worship of the American nation but an understanding of the American experience in the light of ultimate and universal reality, the reorganization entailed by such a new situation need not disrupt the American civil religion’s continuity” (18). Bellah is confident that civil religion can transform as America becomes a world power. However, he is less sure how atheism will impact American civil religion’s reliance on God.


Bellah argues that civil religion is not the notion that Christianity is the national faith. Civil religion is also not Herberg’s “American Way of Life,” which suggests that civic religion in American is faith in faith. Herberg suggested that the increase in religiosity and church practice in 1950s America did not really reflect an increase in Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish religiosity or practice. Rather, it reflected Americans’ recognition that religion in general, or faith in faith, was important to American life. Going to a Protestant church was merely a ritual in the American Way of Life. It did not necessarily reflect one’s going to church to practice Protestantism in any particular ritual or creedal form. For Herberg, the American Way of Life was the secularization of American religions. One went to church or synagogues because that was what Americans did as part of the American Way of Life.

Bellah, on the other hand, argues that “there actually exists alongside of and rather clearly differentiated from the churches an elaborate and well-institutionalized civil religion in America.” Civil religion and American religions flourish alongside one another. Americans are not able to see civil religion, Bella argued, because they do not recognize Durkheim’s notion of “religious dimension.” Durkheim argued that every group had a religious dimension which defined its overall identity. Bellah suggests that this dimension can be easily examined in southern or eastern Asia. American civil religion has not been recognized because of the way the West defines “religion.” Religion “denotes a single type of collectivity of which an individual can be a member of one and only one at a time” (19, n. 19). Durkheim argued that religion united clans of clan-based societies in its creation of a collective consciousness. Bellah argued that American civil religion united individual Americans in similar ways.

29 Mar

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women in response to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord’s 1791 report to the French National Assembly. The report suggested that girls should only be educated with boys until the age of eight. Thereafter, girls should only receive a domestic education. Wollstonecraft attacked this suggestion and the larger inequalities in women’s rights, including their education and social positions. Wollstonecraft argued that women had the right to be educated as men were educated.  She called for women’s intellectual equality.

Wollstonecraft condemned Rousseau’s Emile as well as other educational books that saw men as intellectually superior to women. She suggested that men who defined women as weak and vain did not see that these “characteristics” were based on the failure of women’s education that had been outlined by men. Like other pedagogues, Wollstonecraft outlined methods for educating children. Wollstonecraft recognized that children’s characters were formed by the age of seven. Mothers needed to be educated properly so they could mold their children’s natures. Wollstonecraft did not advocate for complete independence for women. She did suggest that with intellectual equality, women would gain more political and economic equality.

Wollstonecraft developed a plan for national education. She argued against private education as this was for the elite alone and did not allow children to be around one another. She also argued against boarding schools as these had too many holiday interruptions. Day schools were the best option because they allowed children to go to school together and for longer periods. Wollstonecraft also advocated for state supported schools because she didn’t think education should be left to parents alone. She also emphasized the importance of letting children play, like Rousseau.

These ideas were revolutionary because Wollstonecraft argued that girls should be educated equally, alongside boys, not relative to them. She noted that “If marriage be the cement of society, mankind should all be educated after the same model, or the intercourse of the sexes will never deserve the name of fellowship, nor will women ever fulfill the peculiar duties of their sex….Nay, marriage will never be held sacred till women, by being brought up with men, are prepared to be their companions rather than their mistresses” (177). At the age of nine, boys and girls dedicated to domestic employments or mechanical trades would go to other schools. All other boys and girls would remain in school together in the mornings. In the afternoons, boys and girls would be separated to learn specific trades according to their gender. Wollstonecraft suggested that educating boys and girls together would make the sexes more amenable to one another. Women should also be taught anatomy and medicine so they could attend to their children and husbands in efficient ways.

By the end of 1792, Wollstonecraft’s book had been published in Britain, Boston, Philadelphia, and France. Advocates of “Republican Motherhood” in the early America Republic used Wollstonecraft work to support the education of women. Others used Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Rousseau’s Emile to attack Wollstonecraft and women’s education in general.  

18 Mar

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, or Treatise on Education (1762)

 Rousseau published Émile, or Treatise on Education in 1762. This philosophical treatise traced the nature of education through Émile, a fictional man, from infancy to adulthood. This work was radical for its insistence on familial, child-rearing, educational, and religious reform. The most damning critiques of Rousseau’s treatise emerged from the Catholic Church. Rousseau insisted, contrary to his contemporaries, that a child’s religious education should not begin until late adolescence (15 to 20). Rousseau also suggested that children should come naturally to religion with free and skeptical minds. In eighteenth-century France, most genteel, male children began their religious education at the age of six or seven by rote memorization. Émile was banned in Paris and Geneva, and publicly burned the year it was published. Nevertheless, Émile was widely read and influenced educational reform in France after the revolution. Educational reformers (Basedow, Pestalozzi, and Froebel) adopted and adapted Rousseau’s ideas in Germany and Switzerland. By the late eighteenth-century, Americans employed Émile to discuss the differences in and values of men and women’s education in the United States.

Rousseau divided Émile into five books on education, which correspond to the five stages of human development: infancy, ages 5 to 12, ages 12 to 15, ages 15 to 20, and ages 20 to 25. Rousseau suggested that there was a sixth stage of development called the “Age of Happiness.” However, the treatise ended with the fifth stage in Book Five. Book Five (ages 20 to 25) also included Rousseau’s thoughts on the nature of education for women. Below I will outline Rousseau’s arguments about education.

Book One started with some general remarks on education. Rousseau argued that “education comes to us from” three teachers, or “nature itself, or from other men, or from circumstances.”[1] The education that Rousseau outlined is meant strictly to train men for manhood and their adult vocations. Education remained a male’s domain. Nevertheless, Rousseau emphasized an equality in male education that others had not broached. Rousseau suggested that “In the natural order of things, all men being equal, the vocation common to all is the state of manhood; and whoever is well trained for that, cannot fulfill badly any vocation which depends upon it…How to live is the business I wish to teach him.”[2] Education prepared men for their obligations to humanity as fathers, to society as producers of other good men, and to the state as citizens.[3] This emphasis on nature and man’s natural abilities made room for equality in male education. These ideas were harnessed during the French Revolution to create France’s first national system of education.

Book One suggested that the education of man begins in infancy with children’s bodies. Children’s bodies should be freed from swaddling so that their movements were not restricted. Restriction made children fussy, and hindered their experience of objects, people, and nature. Moreover, children should be breast-fed by their mothers, not nurses.  Breast-feeding children would reform the family by bringing mothers and children to love one another. According to Rousseau, breast-feeding was the “first duty” of mothers.[4] The reinstitution “of this one abuse would soon result in a general reform; nature would resume all her rights. When women are once more true mothers, men will become true fathers and husbands….. If mothers are not real mothers, children are not real children toward them. Their duties to one another are reciprocal, and if these be badly fulfilled on the one side, they will be neglected on the other side.”[5] Correcting the physical relations between mothers and children would aid in the reform of familial relationships and children’s education. Finally, adults should not force children to speak too early as there is a dissonance between children and adults languages that prohibited mutual understanding.

Book Two continued the argument about education through experience in infancy. Rousseau suggested that children should be allowed to play in the open air in order to enjoy life, experience pain and suffering, and calm their dispositions. Rousseau noted that as “soon as they can feel the pleasures of existence allow them to enjoy it; and at whatever hour God may summon them see to it that they do not die before they have tasted life.”[6] The traditional, eighteenth-century education of children bothered Rousseau because it restricted children’s bodily experiences of the natural world and made them like galley slaves. It also bothered him because it trained children in polite niceties that masked arrogance and classism. Rousseau suggested that “As for me, I would rather have Émile rude than arrogant; I would much rather have him say in making a request, Do this, than in commanding, I beg you. It is not the term which he uses that I care about but rather the meaning which he connects with it.”[7] Thus, Roseau outlined ways not to educate children in arrogance.

The education of children from ages 5 to 12 should not focus on teaching children languages or history because children are not able to fully form ideas and apply them to experience (i.e., teaching geography does not teach children how to get from one place to another; experience of traveling does). Children should not be forced to read or write. Rousseau criticized Locke for his emphasis on methods for teaching children to read (dice and cabinets).[8] Rousseau suggested that adults should read to children what interested them in order to cultivate a desire for reading, writing, and learning. The cultivation of the desire to learn was the best method for educating children. Children should also exercise so that the body and mind may move together to experience the world. Rousseau concluded, “In order to learn to think, we must then exercise our limbs, our senses, and our organs…Thus, so far is it from being true that the reason of man is formed independently of the body, it is the happy constitution of the body which renders the operations of the mind facile and sure.”[9] Rousseau outlined learning in terms of phenomenology: what men knew came from their bodily and sense experiences.

Rousseau also emphasized the importance of vision and learning to see for developing a reasoned mind: “Sight is the sense which is the most intimately connected with the judgments of the mind, it requires a long time to learn to see.”[10] Rousseau argued that children should learn to measure, judge, and estimate numbers, bodies, and heights by drawing. The experience of seeing and then drawing real object forms impressed Nature on children’s imaginations. Art cultivated knowledge through embodied experiences.  Rousseau suggested that “I shall discourage him [Émile] even from tracing anything from memory…for fear that substituting odd and fantastic forms for the truth of things, he lose the knowledge of proportions and the taste for the beauties of Nature.”[11] Like Locke, Roseau also encouraged children to learn by sleeping in different types of beds and experiencing different circumstances in order to accustom their bodies to different settings. These methods for educating children enhanced the physical senses of children so that their bodies and minds developed together. The physical, sensual experience of Nature molded children properly.

Book Three argued that after infancy children should learn a trade from the ages of 12 to 15. This stage was the most important in a child’s development because it was the “interval when the power of the individual is greater than his desires.”[12] Nature marked this period as “the period of labor, of instruction, and of study.”[13] Rousseau emphasized the education of children through bodily experience in this section by giving examples of Émile’s education at fairs and with jugglers.  Rousseau also warned against teaching children about instruments through books. Instruments “invented to guide us in our experiments and to supply the place of accurate sense-perception cause us to neglect the exercise of it.”[14] Rather, children could learn about instruments and the labor behind them by being employed in workshops. “Instead of making a child stick to his books, if I employ him in a workshop his hands labor to the profit of his mind; he becomes a philosopher, but fancies he is only a workman.”[15] Physical work enhanced the mind of children through direct experience. Work also taught children the differences between work and play, and what was useful and what was not.

The one book that children should read was Robinson Crusoe because it taught self-preservation and judgment through experience without the assistant of fellows and instruments. Children should not be taught about social norms and public opinion through books and teachers as these should be experienced directly. Rousseau also discussed the ability of men to be educated. He did not distinguish “class ranks or fortunes nor shall I distinguish them scarcely more in the sequel because man is the same in all conditions…. providing for them ought everywhere to be equal.” Rather, teachers should “Adapt the education of man to man and not to that which he is not.”[16] Dismissing class and requiring children to learn a trade was scandalous to the upper-classes. But, for Rousseau learning a trade and relying on one’s own labor and experience for education meant accessing a “rank which he cannot lose, a rank which will honor him as long as he lives.” Rousseau opposed Locke’s suggested trades for men, which appeared useless. Locke argued that men be embroiderers, gilders, and varnishers. Rousseau also opposed the professions of musicians, poets, and comedians. Education through labor and physical experience would raise children to a state of manhood. Training the body and senses trained the mind and judgment.

Book Four argued that between the ages of 15 and 20 children should be instructed in religious and moral education. This stage represented the second birth of children and “it is here that man really begins to live.”[17] This education centered on children’s relations with other men, not with things as before. Religious education controlled the passions by directing the love of self, which “regards only ourselves, [and] is content when our real needs are satisfied.”[18]  Love of self is far better than self-love, which makes comparisons and is never satisfied because it requires “that others prefer ourselves to them—a thing which is impossible.”[19] This stage is also the time to educate young men in “agreeable books,” “books of the ancients,” discussion, analysis of discourse, diction, and elocution. Languages should also be studied at this time, not so much for their own use but because they teach grammar in one’s first language.

Rousseau criticized Locke in this section for beginning education with the mind and then moving to the body. According to Rousseau, this propagated materialism. Children should not think about matter as Locke suggested, but rather they should experience matter. Thinking matter only leed children to think about the material world. Experiencing matter would lead children to think beyond matter to the spiritual world. Experiencing matter would lead children to a religious education and spiritual preparation. Without first knowing how to use the body, one could not think or reason properly in order to educate the soul. Only after the body is well-trained could one absorb religion education. The lover of the self is able to commune with God in finding supreme happiness.

Book Five examined the final stage of youth, the ages between 20 and 25, when men and women marry. This book is dedicated to the education of women. Rousseau argued that Sophie (Émile’s companion) ought to be a woman as Émile is a man. In a sense, Rousseau elevated notions about women’s ability to be educated. He suggested that women required education just as men required education. That is, “she should have whatever is befitting the constitution of her species and of her sex in order to fill her place in the physical and moral world.”[20] Rousseau went as far as suggesting some equality between the sexes:  “All that we know with a certainty is that the only thing in common between man and woman is the species, and that they differ only in respect of sex.” Similarly, Rousseau declared, “With respect to what they have in common they are equal, and in so far as they are different they are not capable of being compared.” [21]  Nevertheless, the law of Nature suggests that sex impacts one’s bodily, religious, and moral education: “it follows that they ought not to have the same education…following directions of nature they ought to act in concert, but they ought not to do the same things; their duties have a common end, but the duties themselves are different, and consequently the tastes which direct them.”[22] Women are to be educated because it is their duty to be mothers and to educate their male children. “Thus the whole education of women ought to be relative to men.”[23]

Women’s bodies should not be developed for strength in infancy like men. Instead, their bodies were to be developed for “personal charms.”[24] This development still included allowing female children to play and run like male children, to free their bodies from physical constraints, and to learn the accomplishments (singing, dancing, etc.) for amusement.[25] According to Rousseau, females were inclined to play more with dolls as fit their station as mothers. Females learned better through embroidery and lacework as these appeared useful and appealed to girls’ desire to adorn themselves. Young women must be taught restraint and duty. “They must early be trained to restraint to the end that it may cost them nothing and to conquer all their whims in order to subject them to the wills of others. If they wish always to be at work they must sometimes be compelled to do nothing.”[26] Like boys, girls were educated, though to a lesser degree, through “industry and talent which form taste.” Taste in turn formed the mind, which is “opened to ideas of the beautiful in all its forms and finally to the moral notions which are connected with it.”[27] Like young boys, girls were not capable of thinking about religion at a young age. In fact, they were not really capable of thinking about religion at all. When at the appropriate age, young girls should have the “religion of her mother, and every wife that of her husband. Even were this religion false, the docility which makes the mother and the daughter submit to the order of nature expunges in the sight of God the sin of error.”[28] Rousseau blamed coquetry in Catholic convents, and convents in general, for the decline in women’s behavior and duties. In doing so, Rousseau elevated Protestantism and its familial relations: “but it seems to me that in general Protestant countries have more family affection, more worthy wives, and more tender mothers than Catholic countries; and if this is true, we cannot doubt that this difference is due in part to the education of convents [i.e., where they let girls run free].”[29]

Some late eighteenth-century American Protestants embraced Rousseau’s plan for women’s education. They recognized the necessity of women’s education for educating male children who would become the leaders of the Republic. Scholars recognize this emphasis on women’s education in early America as the ideology of Republican Motherhood.

[1] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, Or Concerning Education: Extracts Containing the Principal Elements of Pedagogy Found in the First Three Books (Heath, 1886), 14.


[2] Ibid., 12.

[3] Ibid., 22.

[4] Ibid., 16.

[5] Ibid., 18.

[6] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Rousseau’s Émile: Or, Treatise on Education (D. Appleton, 1909), 45–46.

[7] Ibid., 48.

[8] Ibid., 83.

[9] Ibid., 90.

[10] Ibid., 106.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., 133.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid., 152.

[15] Ibid., 153.

[16] Ibid., 175.

[17] Ibid., 193.

[18] Ibid., 195.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid., 259.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., 261.

[23] Ibid., 263.

[24] Ibid., 264.

[25] Ibid., 271.

[26] Ibid., 268.

[27] Ibid., 273.

[28] Ibid., 276.

[29] Ibid., 284.