“Government in Petticoats”: Gender Poetics in New Jersey’s Newspaper Literature, 1789-1807
This essay analyzes the literature (poetry, anecdotes, fiction, and miscellanies) of New Jersey newspapers between 1789 and 1807, a period when many of the state’s women were legally enfranchised. Scholarship concerning New Jersey’s ephemeral texts by or about women and the vote during these years has been limited, often because of the archive’s perceived limitations: there is little direct reference to women’s suffrage to be found there. However, by concentrating on the literary texts often overlooked in favor of more expositive, essayistic pieces, this study sheds new light on early republican anxieties to define and control gender in the public sphere, and it offers a new critical perspective of shifting and interrelated notions of womanhood, gender, and early American ideologies of liberty, equality, and rights.
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