Class 6: The Rise of Equality: Gender I

Political Science

Course on “The Changing Purposes of American Government

Taught by Dr. Christopher Wolfe

CLASS 6: “The Rise of Equality: Gender I”

We have been discussing the first major change with respect to the purposes of American government: i.e., the rise of equality. In particular, we have so far focused on economic and racial equality. We turn now to examine gender equality, which is in some ways a third rail of American political and social life. We will begin by looking at the relationship between men and women early on in American history so that we will have a baseline by which to compare the expansion of women’s equality later on. We will look, in particular, at two different accounts of the standing of women in early America. First, we will examine Alexis de Tocqueville’s treatment of the topic in his book, Democracy in America, in a chapter entitled, “How Americans Understand the Equality of the Sexes.” Next, we will review the Seneca Falls Declaration of Rights and Sentiments.
Christopher Wolfe is emeritus professor of political science at Marquette University, and served as co-director of the Thomas International Center from 2005 to 2014.  He currently teaches at the University of Dallas. His main area of research and teaching for two decades was Constitutional Law and American Political Thought, and he is the author of various books, the best known of which is The Rise of Modern Judicial Review, which Judge Robert Bork, in a 2006 Wall Street Journal contribution, listed as one of the five best books on the Constitution.