Browse our archive of original historical documents on the themes of this book:

- Founding Principles

- Slavery

- Property Rights

- Women and the Right to Vote

- Women and the Family

- Was the Founding Undemocratic? The Property Requirement for Voting

- Poverty and Welfare

- Immigration and the Moral Conditions of Citizenship

- Afterword: Liberals and Conservatives Abandon the Principles of the Founding


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Chapter 4. Women and the Family

Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 6
Thomas Jefferson
Americans, like other civilized peoples, recognize the equal rights of women; Indians do not.

Lectures on Law
James Wilson
A statement of the legal condition of women and the family during the founding era. Wilson contrasts the position of American women with the tyrannical treatment of women in ancient Greece and Rome.

The Natural and Civil History of Vermont
Samuel Williams
The superiority of the American family, in contrast with the European.

Inchiquin’s Letters
Charles Ingersoll
Ingersoll wrote Inchiquin’s Letters as a defense of the American character against its foreign and domestic critics.


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