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In 1823, the History of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson rattled Philadelphia society and became one of the most scandalous, and eagerly read, memoirs of the age. This tale of a woman who tried to rescue her lover from the gallows and attempted to kidnap the governor of Pennsylvania tantalized its audience with illicit love, betrayal, and murder. Carson's ghostwriter, Mary Clarke, was no less daring. Clarke pursued dangerous associations and wrote scandalous exposés based on her own and others' experiences. She immersed herself in the world of criminals and disreputable actors, using her acquaintance with this demimonde to shape a career as a sensationalist writer. In Dangerous to Know, Susan Branson follows the fascinating lives of Ann Carson and Mary Clarke, offering an engaging study of gender and class in the early nineteenth century. According to Branson, episodes in both women's lives illustrate their struggles within a society that constrained women's activities and ambitions. She argues that both women simultaneously tried to conform to and manipulate the dominant sexual, economic, and social ideologies of the time. In their own lives and through their writing, the pair challenged conventions prescribed by these ideologies to further their own ends and redefine what was possible for women in early American public life.
This second edition of Historical Dictionary of the Early American Republic contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 500 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about American history.
The story of the rise of prisons and development of prison systems in the United States has been studied extensively in scholarship, but the experiences of female inmates in these institutions have not received the same attention. Historically, women incarcerated in prison, jails, and reformatories accounted for a small number of inmates across the United States. Early on, they were often held in prisons alongside men and faced neglect, exploitation, and poor living conditions. Various attempts to reform them, ranging from moral instruction and education to domestic training, faced opposition at times from state officials, prison employees, and even male prison reformers. Due to the consistent small populations and relative neglect the women often faced, their experiences in prison have been understudied. This collection of essays seeks to recapture the perspective on women’s prison experience from a range of viewpoints. This edited collection will explore the challenges women faced as inmates, their efforts to exert agency or control over their lives and bodies, how issues of race and social class influenced experiences, and how their experiences differed from that of male inmates. Contributions extend from the early nineteenth century into the twenty-first century to provide an opportunity to examine change over time with regards to female imprisonment. Furthermore, the chapters examine numerous geographic regions, allowing for readers to analyze how place and environment shapes the inmate experience.
Two centuries ago, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was one of the most famous women in America. Beautiful, scandalous, and outspoken, she had wed Napoleon's brother Jerome, borne his child, and seen the marriage annulled by the emperor himself. With her notorious behavior, dashing husband, and associations with European royalty, Elizabeth became one of America's first celebrities during a crucial moment in the nation's history. At the time of Elizabeth's fame, the United States had only recently gained its independence, and the character of American society and politics was not yet fully formed. Still concerned that their republican experiment might fail and that their society might become too much like that of monarchical Europe, many Americans feared the corrupting influence of European manners and ideas. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte's imperial connections and aristocratic aspirations made her a central figure in these debates, with many, including members of Congress and the social elites of the day, regarding her as a threat. Appraising Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte's many identities—celebrity, aristocrat, independent woman, mother—Charlene M. Boyer Lewis shows how Madame Bonaparte, as she was known, exercised extraordinary social power at the center of the changing transatlantic world. In spite of the assumed threat that she posed to the new social and political order, Americans could not help being captivated by Elizabeth's style, beauty, and wit. She offered an alternative to the republican wife by pursuing a life of aristocratic dreams in the United States and Europe. Her story reminds us of the fragility of the American experiment in its infancy and, equally important, of the active role of women in the debates over society and culture in the early republic.

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