"I married me a wife" : male attitudes toward women in the American museum, 1787-1792


"I married me a wife" : male attitudes toward women in the American museum, 1787-1792

Arthur Scherr

Lexington Books, c1999

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Includes bibliographical references



"I Married Me a Wife" is a revisionist study of gender relations in late-eighteenth-century America. The American Museum, published during five early years of the United States, was a popular middle-class magazine in many ways the Reader's Digest of its time. Analyzing fiction, essays, poetry, and editorials in the American Museum on the subject of women, Arthur Scherr finds its views less parochial and antifeminist than many of the period's literary sources have led scholars to expect. The selections printed in the magazine, rather than reiterating the idea that "the woman's place is in the home," depict a more variegated view of women in diverse socioeconomic and emotional situations vis-a-vis men. The American Museum was published during the shaping of the U.S. Constitution; it is Scherr's conclusion that the Constitution's founding principle of individual freedom influenced the middle-class man's respect and support for women's autonomy, individuality, and self-determination to a degree rarely acknowledged by contemporary historians.


Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Mathew Carey and the American Museum Chapter 3 1787: A Year of Constitution-Making Chapter 4 Marriage, Manners, and Morals Chapter 5 Turn and Return: The American Museum Views "The Fair Sex," 1788-1792 Chapter 6 Conclusion

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