Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800-1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Karlyn Kohrs Campbell | Go to book overview

which diminished her self-assertion, she embodied the virtue of submissiveness, a primary tenet of True Womanhood. The following passage is representative of her humility in taking to the platform: "I am but as a drop in the bucket-- as one particle of the small dust of the earth. God will surely raise up those among us who will plead the cause of virtue and the pure principles of morality more eloquently than I am able to do so" ( MH:70-71).

The act of public expression directly challenged women's prescribed roles. Miller Stewart's public expression, however, came from divine inspiration. Even though she boldly violated the norms of feminine behavior, she characterized this violation as a submissive and Christian act. She repeatedly reinforced her identity as a prophet touched by God. For instance:

Methinks I heard a spiritual interrogation--"Who shall go forward, and take off the reproach that is cast upon the people of color? Shall it be a woman?" And my heart made this reply--"If it is thy will, be it even so, Lord Jesus!" ( FH:51)

She located the virtues of submissiveness and piety within her Christian morality. By following God's call, she adhered to a higher authority. She recast her acts of interpreting God's will and becoming God's prophet--decidedly masculine behaviors for her time--as Christian piety and feminine submission.

The final strategy Miller Stewart used to handle the obstacles she faced was to withdraw from the public platform altogether. As a prophet, not only did she prophesy the collapse of the United States in her resounding jeremiads, but she also predicted the death of her own public character by equating death with silence in juxtaposed images. Beginning with the introduction to her pamphlet, where she associated herself with the martyred image of David Walker, she repeatedly foreshadowed her withdrawal from the platform:

Many will suffer for pleading the cause of oppressed Africa, and I shall glory in being one of her martyrs; for I am firmly persuaded, that the God in whom I trust . . . is able to protect me . . . and if there is no other way for me to escape, he is able to take me to himself, as he did the most noble, fearless, and undaunted David Walker. ( RP:5)

Aware of the constraints that gender placed on her character as a speaker, Miller Stewart constructed a paradoxical persona that was militant and modest. She sought to maintain her femininity by crafting a public character consonant with the piety and deference of a true woman. Yet her piety and deference to God, as she constructed it, required militant activism. As a result, she assumed a persona antithetical to the true woman persona she sought to embody ( Sells, 1991:88).


CONCLUSION

The contradictions in Miller Stewart's rhetoric make sense in light of her unique historical position, the philosophy she espoused, and the considerable

-346-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1800-1925: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 512

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.