From Eve to evolution : Darwin, science, and women's rights by Kimberly A. Hamlin

By Kimberly A. Hamlin

From Eve to Evolution offers the 1st full-length examine of yankee women’s responses to evolutionary idea and illuminates the position technology performed within the nineteenth-century women’s rights move. Kimberly A. Hamlin finds how a few nineteenth-century ladies, raised at the concept that Eve’s sin ceaselessly mounted women’s subordinate prestige, embraced Darwinian evolution—especially sexual choice conception as defined in The Descent of Man—as a substitute for the production tale in Genesis.
Hamlin chronicles the lives and writings of the ladies who mixed their enthusiasm for evolutionary technological know-how with their dedication to women’s rights, together with Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Eliza Burt Gamble, Helen Hamilton Gardener, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. those Darwinian feminists believed evolutionary technology proved that girls weren't not so good as males, that it was once ordinary for moms to paintings outdoors the house, and that ladies should still regulate replica. the sensible functions of this evolutionary feminism got here to fruition, Hamlin indicates, within the early pondering and writing of the yank contraception pioneer Margaret Sanger. 
a lot scholarship has been devoted to interpreting what Darwin and different male evolutionists needed to say approximately girls, yet little or no has been written relating to what ladies themselves needed to say approximately evolution. From Eve to Evolution provides much-needed lady voices to the enormous literature on Darwin in America.

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Extra info for From Eve to evolution : Darwin, science, and women's rights in Gilded Age America

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Women’s initial enthusiasm for Darwin had emerged in various forms—from wholesale adoption to blending with Christianity—but, by the late 1880s, Darwinian arguments for women’s emancipation were most often advanced by women working outside of, or on the periphery of, NAWSA. NAWSA members, on the other hand, increasingly drew on theories of social evolution—those written and inspired by Herbert Spencer and his protégés including the American William Graham Sumner—and less on the nonteleological, naturalistic evolution of Darwin.

While denying biological determinism and continuing to stress the structural and cultural elements of gender oppression, the Darwinian feminists’ acknowledgement of some biological sex differences—maternity and breast-feeding, for example— allowed them to advance creative innovations and demands, as the following chapters attest. Moreover, the concept of natural rights, while certainly revolutionary, was not gender neutral. As Thomas Laqueur and others have established, natural rights rhetoric not only left out women, it was expressly constructed to exclude them and eviscerate whatever small political and other privileges (wealthy) women may have had.

Unlike twenty-fi rst-century Creationists, nineteenth-century antievolutionists did not stress the literal six, twentyfour-hour days of creation; to them, the important thing was that God had personally intervened in the world to create human beings in his likeness. Furthermore, these ministers argued, if Adam and Eve did not fall from grace, then the rest of the Bible, including redemption through Christ, was for naught. ”28 To this line of thought, abandoning a belief in special creation meant impugning the sanctity of the entire Bible.

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