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Democratic-Republican Election 1816 – Marietta Corbin


• The revolution itself profoundly changed the popular understanding of women’s political status and initiated a widespread, ongoing debate over the meaning of women’s right. Their essential role in securing American victory created new opportunities for women to participate, at least informally, in party and electoral politics.
• In response to political necessity and appeals, women boycotted imports, spun cloth, collected donations, encouraged the men in their lives, and maintained the home.
• Political women, especially Mary Wollstonecraft, opened the debate on women’s rights, which, in accordance with the ideals of the Revolution, was taken seriously. Other women, such as Mercy Otis Warren and Judith Sargent Murray, participated in political scribbling. Wives of politicians (of which there were now more) were often skilled operatives in creating patronage, as intermediaries between their husbands and his constituents, and as political advisors
• “American women and men feared for the future, a future that might involve a wholesale transformation in women’s rights, roles and responsibilities” (p. 78). Women might become independent, less subordinate, and a challenge to male power, which would change gender relations and pull apart the fabric of society.