Chapter

A Republic of Women: 1829–1832

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0006
A Republic of Women: 1829–1832

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The educational priorities of Catharine Beecher's Hartford Female Seminary were the building of character, the cultivation of the intellect, and the proper preparation of young ladies to enter society. Catharine fully institutionalized her optimistic and romantic educational philosophy of women's “moral influence,” and Harriet Beecher experienced a quantum growth in confidence and power. Harriet was a zealous convert to Catharine's scheme of moral influence. The system of “mutual instruction” that she had adopted out of expediency when she created her school, had, in December 1829, flowered into a self-conscious Republic of Women. Soon after the events of the December Republic, Catharine institutionalized these developments by announcing a new, anti-emulationist policy. The spirit of republican sisterhood called forth by that crisis was antithetical to the individualism implicit in competition.

Keywords: Catharine Beecher; Hartford Female Seminary; moral influence; Harriet Beecher; Republic of Women; December Republic; republican sisterhood

Chapter.  4566 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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