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Warring for AmericaCultural Contests in the Era of 1812$
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Nicole Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631516

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

“Murder, Robbery, Rape, Adultery, and Incest”

“Murder, Robbery, Rape, Adultery, and Incest”

Martha Meredith Read’s Margaretta and The Function of Federalist Fiction

(p.95) “Murder, Robbery, Rape, Adultery, and Incest”
Warring for America

Duncan Faherty

University of North Carolina Press

This essay considers how and why Federalist writers turned to the medium of fiction after the Revolution of 1800 in order to continue to express their concerns about the dangers of a Jeffersonian ascendency and the future of national development. By exploring the connections between rhetorical practices before and after Jefferson’s election, I argue that Federalist writers deployed the same tropes and metaphors to reflect on the loss of their authority despite the shift in genre from newspaper editorial to the novel form. Central to this practice was the use of reflections on the Haitian Revolution which served to represent the instabilities of plantation culture and its capacity to erode cultural mores. The essay focuses on Martha Meredith Read’s Margaretta (1807) as an emblematic example of the ways in which Federalist writers sought to deploy representations of planter decadence as a means of critiquing Jeffersonian power. Yet more than simply critiquing Jeffersonianism, Read also seeks to reframe the tenets of Federalism by advocating that properly ordered domestic spheres are the true source of cultural stability.

Keywords:   Martha Meredith Read, Margaretta, Jeffersonianism, Burleigh, domestic spheres, newspaper editorials, novel

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