“The sphere which her Creator has assigned her”: Sarah and Angelina Grimké’s Religious Arguments for Women’s Rights

Files

scheldethesisfinal (1).pdf

Citation

Schelde, Sarah, ““The sphere which her Creator has assigned her”: Sarah and Angelina Grimké’s Religious Arguments for Women’s Rights,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed April 4, 2020, https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/240.

Title

“The sphere which her Creator has assigned her”: Sarah and Angelina Grimké’s Religious Arguments for Women’s Rights

Creator

Schelde, Sarah

Date

2017

Description

This thesis examines the ways that Sarah and Angelina Grimké, leading figures in abolitionism in the 1830s and the first female agents of the American Anti-Slavery Society, responded to and countered the criticism they faced as women for speaking in public venues to mixed-gender audiences on political topics like abolition. In the early nineteenth century, the accepted sphere of activity for women was the domestic, and men and women from within the antislavery movement and outside of it (including clergy) saw the Grimké sisters as violating a divinely-ordained separation of the sexes. Through a close textual analysis of personal and published writings of the sisters, including letters, diary entries, and printed appeals, this thesis highlights the arguments used by the sisters to justify their public activities. These primary sources are grounded in the historical context of women’s rights and religious history which shaped the sisters’ relation to the world around them. This work argues that the deeply personal and devout religious faith of the sisters drove their belief in their God-given duty to speak out publicly on the injustices within American society, and this led them to emphasize religious and scriptural evidence in their defense of their public activities. The Grimké sisters’ interpretations of scripture subverted the very text which had, for centuries, been used to subjugate and oppress women, including by their most outspoken detractors. Through these intelligent and well-reasoned arguments, the sisters became pioneers of the women’s rights movement prior to 1848.

Publisher

Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)

Format

1 PDF (90 Pages)

Language

English

Type

Masters Theses