Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-swqlm Total loading time: 0.396 Render date: 2021-12-06T09:50:01.090Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

4 - Catharine Macaulay's histories of England: liberty, civilisation and the female historian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2009

Karen O'Brien
Affiliation:
University of Warwick
Get access

Summary

John Stuart Mill, Mary Wollstonecraft and Catharine Macaulay voiced their hostility to the idea that the chivalrous treatment of women was a true ‘test of civilization’, and their doubts about the very histories of civilisation from which such notions of chivalry were drawn. In the next two chapters, I will consider how far the latter two writers felt it necessary to rewrite those histories of civilisation in order to challenge the cult of chivalric manners, and the extent to which they deployed and adapted contemporary vocabularies of progress, civil society and commerce to their own ends. In the case of Wollstonecraft, we will see an intensely revisionist engagement, on the ground of moral philosophy, with Scottish ideas of the progress of society. In the case of Macaulay, no less deeply read than her younger contemporary in the historical and sociological works of her time, there is a defiant attempt to update older ideas of male and female freedom on the ground of history. In Mill's case, beyond the scope of this book, we see a thoroughgoing scepticism as to whether history can form a basis from which to argue against the subjection of women. Mill was doubtful about the value both of history and of Christianity as resources for the case for liberty. Macaulay and Wollstonecraft, however, drew considerable inspiration from their Protestant faith when seeking to reinterpret the past and imagine the future in the image of liberty.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×