From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America

University of Chicago Press
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From Eve to Evolution provides the first full-length study of American women’s responses to evolutionary theory and illuminates the role science played in the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement. Kimberly A. Hamlin reveals how a number of nineteenth-century women, raised on the idea that Eve’s sin forever fixed women’s subordinate status, embraced Darwinian evolution—especially sexual selection theory as explained in The Descent of Man—as an alternative to the creation story in Genesis.

Hamlin chronicles the lives and writings of the women who combined their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with their commitment to women’s rights, including Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Eliza Burt Gamble, Helen Hamilton Gardener, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These Darwinian feminists believed evolutionary science proved that women were not inferior to men, that it was natural for mothers to work outside the home, and that women should control reproduction. The practical applications of this evolutionary feminism came to fruition, Hamlin shows, in the early thinking and writing of the American birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger.

Much scholarship has been dedicated to analyzing what Darwin and other male evolutionists had to say about women, but very little has been written regarding what women themselves had to say about evolution. From Eve to Evolution adds much-needed female voices to the vast literature on Darwin in America.
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About the author

Kimberly A. Hamlin is associate professor of American studies and history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives in Cincinnati.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 8, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780226134758
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
Science / General
Science / History
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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