“Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women”:What “liberty rhetoric” language and imagery do you find in your choices?

“Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women”:What “liberty rhetoric” language and imagery do you find in your choices?.

“Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women”

History 11 United States History to 1865: Week FiveModule: Assignment “You Are the Historian!” Using Primary Sources for Women’s History

“Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women”

Beginning with the American Revolution images such as this woodcut became very popular as a symbol of the role women had played in helping to bring about and carry out the American Revolution. It also served as a tool to show that women, too, had earned liberty. By the 1840s, the quest for a share in that liberty (interpreted also as equality and citizen’s rights under the Constitution) became the foundation of the first women’s movement.in the nation’s history. In 1848 women documented these beliefs, ideas, and demands in their own declaration of independence, The Declaration of Sentiments.

Introduction to the Assignment

This week as part of our study of The Age of Reform (Foner, Chapter 12) each class member will complete an assignment using the website “Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women” created by Professor Catherin Lavender, Department of History, College of Staten Island, CUNY, 1998. The link to this website: http://csivc.csi.cuny.edu/americanstudies/files/lavender/

Professor Lavender states: “This site is an archive of primary sources (including songs, letters, poems, images, and speeches) and questions to ponder that help students examine and understand the rhetorical framework women used in the early nineteenth century to argue for equal citizenship and to justify their civic engagement.”

Preparation Prior [CS1] to Starting the “Liberty Rhetoric” Assignment

Ø Textbook Reading: Chapter 12 Religion, Romanticism, and Reform, 1800-1860 and revisit “The American Revolution”

Ø Listen to the lecture[CS2] :The Originsand Goals of the Reform Era

This Assignment Has Five Specific Interconnected Learning Objectives[CS3] :

1) To experience working with primary source materials – that is, first hand contemporary accounts

2) To explore these primary sources to help further an understanding of the origins and goals of America’s first women’s rights activists

3) To be able to identify  “Liberty Rhetoric” in the documents and images selected from the website

4) Upon completion of the assignment to be able to explain what is meant by “Liberty Rhetoric,” the ways in which it was used during the American Revolution, and how it was adopted by women in the nineteenth century for their own cause

5) TheDeclaration of Sentiments is a documentthat rests solidly on the Declaration of Independence. Upon the completion of this assignment you should be able to explain how both are documents that make use of “Liberty Rhetoric”

How to Use the Website for this Assignment

Enter the websitehttp://csivc.csi.cuny.edu/americanstudies/files/lavender/and proceed as follows:

Step One:Select “The Origins of Liberty Rhetoric in the Revolutionary Tradition”

Step Two:[CS4]  You will now be on a page with the following three topics:

1) Comparing Texts of Liberty Rhetoric

2) Images of Liberty as A Woman

3) Tracing the Development of Women’s Use of Liberty Rhetoric

a. Women Embrace the Revolutionary Struggle

b. Attempts to Steer Women toward Caution, Restraint, and Domestic Production

Step Three[CS5] :From Items 1 through 3 (above) select one each of a text, an image, a letter, and a poem. Answer the following questions.

Ø What “liberty rhetoric” language and imagery do you find in your choices?

Ø It has been said that the “real” American Revolution began after the war itself was over. How might your findings support this idea?

Ø Historians frequently use different primary sources depending on their field of inquiry and study. They also might disagree on the meaning or interpretation of a document. What does this assignment add to your understanding of the ways in which historians use primary source and the argument that history is a “living” experience subject to changing interpretations?

Step Four:Read the entry [CS6] and study the image under “Attempts to Steer Women Towards Caution, Restraint, and Domestic Production”. What arguments are being made against the women’s movement and why?



[CS1]Very nice way to scaffold the students prior to getting to the full assignment.


[CS2]Is this a lecture that you will create? If so, I’d like to suggest a very easy tool for you to use called Voice Thread. Let me know if you’d like to check it out.




[CS4]Thanks for this excellent detail and outline of the steps.


[CS5]I went through this with my student ‘hat’ on. When I got here I found myself with a question – where do I turn this in? Is it on the discussion board? Or an assignment only turned in to you?


[CS6]Is the entry the Godey’s Lady’s Book and the Cult of True Womanhood? I wasn’t sure if that was the entry you were referring to.

“Liberty Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Women”:What “liberty rhetoric” language and imagery do you find in your choices?

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