The Republican Wife Analysis

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Jan Lewis’s article, “The Republican Wife”, glorifies the role of the American woman during early American history, making the female gender out to be the most virtuous and chaste model for the perpetuation of a successful republican nation. Women, as discussed by Lewis, were important political figures, in regards to republicanism, due to their intimate ties to the men of society. The family model of a husband and, more importantly, a wife, was key to the common good of all citizens during the Revolutionary period. In effect, the “Republican Wife” served as the “indispensable half of the conjugal union that served as the ideal for political as well as familial relationship” for which “marriage was the very pattern from which the cloth of republican…show more content…
It is undeniable that men were always viewed as the head of the household. With this entitlement as the chief of the family, males dominated a society rooted in patriarchy. As Ruth Bloch mentions in her article, “The American Revolution, Wife Beating, and the Emergent Value of Privacy”, it was significant to notice that men, as “heads of households”, ‘subsumed the members of these disadvantaged groups—the "dependent" servants, slaves, women, and children for whom they supposedly stood as representatives before the law’ (Bloch 3). She goes on to even say that, “the emerging revolutionary notions of privacy worked to reinforce the unequal relationships between masters and slaves, parents and children, husbands and wives” (Bloch 3). Frances Clarke, in an overview titled “Women in the Revolutionary Era” agrees with this idea, while asserting “The American Revolution was not much of a revolution in the lives of women, at least in a political or legal sense. Much like other so-called dependent groups (servants, slaves, non-propertied men) women were generally understood to lack the independence required of republican citizens” (Clarke 1). Within the political realm too, androcentric principles dominated all standards. Former U.S. President John Adams is quoted to have said “As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh” in response to his wife’s recommendation to include women when framing the constitution (Martin 332). Adams continues his onslaught of anti-matriarchal values and sexism by upholding “his commitment to the social hierarchy…based on the belief that women along with other disenfranchised groups must remain subordinate because they lack the capacity for reason, and therefore, for the responsible use of liberty” (Martin 332). His wife, Abigail Adams, resorts to feebly admitting and even pleading, “That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly
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