This book explores how America's founding mothers and founding fathers built gender biases into the very foundation of American politics. It examines traditional prejudices against women as well as efforts to overcome these prejudices during a revolutionary era. It inquires into the shifting male hierarchies that kept some men out of politics, admitted others on a limited basis, and privileged a few men regardless of the rhetoric of liberty and equality. It also assesses the enduring impact of the founders' gendered politics on modern America.
Fortunately, I have been able to draw on the marvelous research and writings of two generations of scholars who have studied women, men, and politics during the founding era (and beyond). Part of my motivation for writing this book was to make their findings and insights more accessible to students investigating gender and politics in America.
Many of the ideas and much of the analysis in this book grew out of research that I did for two previous books: On the Man Question: Gender and Civic Virtue in America and A Republic of Men: The American Founders, Gendered Language, and Patriarchal Politics. The strategy for organizing and writing this book grew out of my experiences as a classroom teacher who stressed a