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Angelina Grimk's Letters to Catharine Beecher - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Analysis of Angelina Grimke’s Letters to Catharine Beecher One of the key determinants that has helped to develop and bring to prominence many of the most famous social activists of the past several hundred years is a realization that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that the society of their time operates…
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Angelina Grimks Letters to Catharine Beecher
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Angelina Grimk's Letters to Catharine Beecher

Download file to see previous pages... Such a formulaic approach may be somewhat non-engaging with the reader; however, it is necessary in order to understand the progression and development that many of the key agents of societal change have embarked upon as they have sought to better themselves as well as the societies in which they lived. This was very much the case with Angelina Grimke’s efforts to abolish slavery and better the plight of women in the society of her time. As such, this brief analysis piece will discuss the ways in which Grimke accomplished some of these feats as a function of analysis of the letters that she wrote to a fellow friend and colleague Catharine Beecher. The back and forth between the two women has been subsequently published by a number of different sources that sought to analyze the distinct political and social growth that their debate precipitated. The fact of the matter was that Beecher and Grimke represented the very early forms of conservative and liberal thought within the American political system. Although neither of them had the right to vote or carried any great amount of political clout, the arguments that were employed as well as the type of logic they both relied upon denotes a fundamentally American development of the political spectrum from that of the woman that supported the status quo as something “ordained by God” and the woman who found the status quo repulsive and ripe for a systemic change which could work to make the American political and social landscape more representative, fair, and less racist. In one of her letters, Beecher wrote to Grimke, “Women hold a subordinate position to men as ‘a beneficent and immutable Divine law’ … and are the proper persons to make appeals to the rulers whom they appoint… [females] are surely out of their place in attempting to do it themselves”.1 Such a world view is of course patently evident of a very traditional acceptance of gender roles within society. However, it should be noted that rather than engaging on the topic of whether or not slavery was itself a tenable and/or defensible position, Beecher chose instead to argue the point from the perspective that women should put themselves in subjugation to the men who have the God-given right to make and define law. Such an approach was of course a cheap rhetorical attempt to ignore the broader moral question that defined the issues. As such, Grimke’s response served to exploit and shine light on such a cheap rhetorical aside. Said Grimke as a way of response to such a traditionalist and closed-minded response to the moral ills of the time, “Women ought to feel a peculiar sympathy in the colored man's wrong, for, like him, she has been accused of mental inferiority, and denied the privileges of a liberal education”. 2 In such a way, Grimke brought the debate directly back to the prescient issue with regards to how women are as morally responsible for the sin of slavery as their male counterparts. Grimke goes on to state, “The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians”.3 Although many of her time thought her to be a radical of sorts and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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