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When Alisse Portnoy recovered petitions from the early 1830s that nearly 1,500 women sent to the U.S. Congress to protest the forced removal of Native Americans in the South, she found the first instance of women's national, collective political activism in American history. In this groundbreaking study, Portnoy links antebellum Indian removal debates with crucial, simultaneous debates about African Americans - abolition of slavery and African colonisation - revealing ways European American women negotiated prohibitions to make their voices heard. Situating the debates within contemporary, competing ideas about race, religion, and nation, Portnoy examines the means by which women argued for a 'right to speak' on national policy. Women's participation in the debates was constrained not only by gender but also by how these women - and the men with whom they lived and worshipped - imagined Native and African Americans as the objects of their advocacy and by what they believed were the most benevolent ways to aid the oppressed groups. Cogently argued and engagingly written, this is the first study to fully integrate women's, Native American, and African American rights debates.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674019225
ISBN-10: 0674019229
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 155mm x 24mm)
Pages: 306
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 21-Oct-2005
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Alisse Portnoy

Alisse Portnoy is Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature and Faculty Associate in the Program in American Culture, University of Michigan.