Lucretia Mott's Heresy: Abolition and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

By Carol Faulkner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Nantucket

In 1855, WHEN ELIZABETH CADY STANTON wanted information for a proposed history of the women’s rights movement, she asked Lucretia Mott about “Nantucket women.” Born in 1793 to Anna Folger and Thomas Coffin, Lucretia spent the first eleven years of her life on Nantucket Island, approximately thirty miles off the coast of Massachusetts. She always considered herself an islander, recalling the “social ties & happy realizations” of Nantucket society; as an adult, Lucretia attempted to recreate this community bound by kinship, religion, and politics.1 Idealizing Mott’s upbringing, Stanton viewed Lucretia’s Nantucket childhood as central to her public career as an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

In her typical self-effacing manner, Mott wrote Stanton that “As to Nantucket women, there are no great things to tell.” But she proceeded to recount the history of women on the island, beginning with Mary Starbuck, an ancestor who almost single-handedly converted the island’s white residents to the Religious Society of Friends in 1702. Though mid-nineteenth-century American culture dictated that women serve as the moral counterpart for the male world of business and politics, Lucretia noted that on Nantucket, “education & intellectual culture have been for years equal for girls & boys—so that their women are prepared to be the companions of men in every sense— and their social circles are never divided.” Recalling the experiences of her mother and other wives of sailors, Lucretia stated, “During the absence of their husbands, Nantucket women have been compelled to transact business, often going to Boston to procure supplies of goods—exchanging for oil, candles, whalebone—&.c—This has made them adept in trade—They have kept

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Lucretia Mott's Heresy: Abolition and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction- Heretic and Saint 1
  • Chapter 1- Nantucket 8
  • Chapter 2- Nine Partners 25
  • Chapter 3- Schism 41
  • Chapter 4- Immediate Abolition 60
  • Chapter 5- Pennsylvania Hall 75
  • Chapter 6- Abroad 87
  • Chapter 7- Crisis 109
  • Chapter 8- The Year 1848 127
  • Chapter 9- Conventions 148
  • Chapter 10- Fugitives 161
  • Chapter 11- Civil War 176
  • Chapter 12- Peace 197
  • Epilogue 213
  • Notes 219
  • Index 265
  • Acknowledgments 289
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