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All Bound Up TogetherThe Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900$
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Martha S. Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831526

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888902_jones

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Female Influence Is Powerful

Female Influence Is Powerful

Respectability, Responsibility, and Setting the Terms of the Woman Question Debate

(p.23) 1 Female Influence Is Powerful
All Bound Up Together

Martha S. Jones

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter presents Maria Stewart as the embodiment of the woman question. It situates the challenges encountered by this woman of exceptional talents as characteristic of a broader debate over the proper uses of female influence. This debate was central to the character of abolitionism's political culture—generating divisions among antislavery activists. Female influence, with its emphasis on women's supremacy in the domestic sphere, was the rubric that most black activists used to frame the relationship of women to public culture. However, its parameters expanded as African Americans sought to address the material challenges their communities faced. Maria Stewart may have stepped too far beyond the parameters of female influence for many black Bostonians, but the questions she posed lingered.

Keywords:   woman question, Maria Stewart, female influence, abolitionism, antislavery activists, women's supremacy, black activists

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