Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic

Hardcover | February 2, 2015

byCassandra A. Good

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"When Harry Met Sally" is only the most iconic of popular American movies, books, and articles that pose the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible. In Founding Friendships, Cassandra A. Good shows that this question was embedded in and debated as far back as thebirth of the American nation. Indeed, many of the nation's founding fathers had female friends but popular rhetoric held that these relationships were fraught with social danger, if not impossible.Elite men and women formed loving, politically significant friendships in the early national period that were crucial to the individuals' lives as well as the formation of a new national political system, as Cassandra Good illuminates. Abigail Adams called her friend Thomas Jefferson "one of thechoice ones on earth," while George Washington signed a letter to his friend Elizabeth Powel with the words "I am always Yours." Their emotionally rich language is often mistaken for romance, but by analyzing period letters, diaries, novels, and etiquette books, Good reveals that friendships betweenmen and women were quite common. At a time when personal relationships were deeply political, these bonds offered both parties affection and practical assistance as well as exemplified republican values of choice, freedom, equality, and virtue. In so doing, these friendships embodied the core valuesof the new nation and represented a transitional moment in gender and culture.Northern and Southern, famous and lesser known, the men and women examined in Founding Friendships offer a fresh look at how the founding generation defined and experienced friendship, love, gender, and power.

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"When Harry Met Sally" is only the most iconic of popular American movies, books, and articles that pose the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible. In Founding Friendships, Cassandra A. Good shows that this question was embedded in and debated as far back as thebirth of the American nation. Indeed, many of ...

Cassandra Good is the associate editor of The Papers of James Monroe at the University of Mary Washington.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.42 × 1.1 inPublished:February 2, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199376174

ISBN - 13:9780199376179

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Three Stories of Friendship2. Reading Friendship3. Friends and Lovers4. Propriety, Positioning, and the Public Face of Friendship5. Friendly Letters6. The Gifts of Friendship7. The Power of FriendshipAfterwordNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A sensitively-drawn study packed with insights into how men and women understood and experienced their friendships with each other at a time of great social and political change. Founding Friendships is filled with very real people banging up against changing expectations as they navigatedthe period's highly politicized and thereby rocky social terrain." --Joanne B. Freeman, author of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic