“[When Hens Crow] looks in an original way at the ideas of the first feminists . . . a pioneering work, written in a clear style and firmly grounded in recent scholarship. . . .” —Journal of American History
In 1852 the New York Daily Herald described leaders of the woman’s rights movement as “hens that crow.” Using speeches, pamphlets, newspaper reports, editorials, and personal papers, Sylvia Hoffert discusses how ideology, language, and strategies of early woman’s rights advocates influenced a new political culture grudgingly inclusive of women. She shows the impact of philosophies of republicanism, natural rights, utilitarianism, and the Scottish Common Sense School in helping activists move beyond the limits of Republican Motherhood and the ideals of domesticity and benevolence.
When Hens Crow also illustrates the work of the penny press in spreading the demands of woman’s rights advocates to a wide audience, establishing the competence of women to contribute to public discourse and public life.