- "A Warm Politition and Devotedly Attached to the Democratic Party": Catharine Read Williams, Politics, and Literature in Antebellum America
- Journal of the Early Republic
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 30, Number 2, Summer 2010
- pp. 253-278
- View Citation
- Additional Information
In order to demonstrate the persistence of "female politicians" in the antebellum period, this article explores Catherine Read Williams's use of publication to advance her partisan agenda. A staunch yet unlikely Democrat, Williams engaged in politics and used publishing to promote Democratic positions on controversial issues such as slavery and Indian removal. In addition, Williams employed history to emphasize the strong and politically active role of women in the American past. In Rhode Island's 1842 Dorr Rebellion, Williams took a fervent public stance in favor of expanding suffrage to all white men. At a time when it was unacceptable for women to be publicly partisan, her confrontational style rendered her exceptional from even politically engaged women of her era. She pushed the gendered boundaries of Jacksonianism by aggressively supporting Democratic policy, depicting heroic women in her historical narratives, and commanding a political presence in her community. Williams's career as a historian and bold political activist reveals the presence of public female partisanship in American political culture during the antebellum period.