Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Roberta Wollons

Second Advisor

Olivia Weisser

Third Advisor

Nicholas Juravich


First introduced by Linda Kerber in the 1970s, Republican Motherhood is the idea that described the role women were expected to play in the years following the American Revolution. Characterized by an expanded sphere of influence through the education of her sons to be prosperous future leaders of the nation and her daughters to be future mothers of American sons, Republican Motherhood played a significant role in the continuing development of gender relations in the early republic. To show the ways in which women utilized Republican Motherhood to reach self-actualization, I analyze the lives of Judith Sargent Murray, Catharine Beecher, and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. Each of these three women utilized the opportunities Republican Motherhood provided them in a different way that allowed them a new form of agency over their own lives while also impacting the world around them, and through this, we are better able to analyze the ways in which Republican Motherhood contributed to the evolving gender culture of America’s early republic.