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“The Spirit of Contradiction”: Wife Abuse in New England, 1780–1820

“The Spirit of Contradiction”: Wife Abuse in New England, 1780–1820 ABSTRACT: In the early republic, abused wives’ petitions for divorce and suits for peace altered community standards regarding domestic abuse. Women’s activities forced society to confront the implications of violence during a time when cultural trends such as companionate marriage and sentimentalism made society receptive to their harrowing narratives. Studying wife abuse shows that women’s political activism was not declining in the early republic – instead, their activism centered on empowering them within the home. Ultimately, women’s combined activities chipped away at legal inequities and provided a crucial staging ground for the advancement of women’s rights. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

“The Spirit of Contradiction”: Wife Abuse in New England, 1780–1820

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The McNeil Center for Early American Studies.
ISSN
1559-0895
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT: In the early republic, abused wives’ petitions for divorce and suits for peace altered community standards regarding domestic abuse. Women’s activities forced society to confront the implications of violence during a time when cultural trends such as companionate marriage and sentimentalism made society receptive to their harrowing narratives. Studying wife abuse shows that women’s political activism was not declining in the early republic – instead, their activism centered on empowering them within the home. Ultimately, women’s combined activities chipped away at legal inequities and provided a crucial staging ground for the advancement of women’s rights.

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Jul 22, 2015

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