Research Interests

Research Themes

My main research interests lie in the field of nineteenth-century American women's history. I have worked in the past on women reformers in the Progressive Era and their influence in the creation of the early American welfare state, with a concentration on the origins of the juvenile courts. More recently my work has moved back in time to explore the involvement of women in the party politics of early nineteenth-century America, at a time when it has been assumed that women were excluded from all political activity. It examines the ways in which women could and did become active political agents in this period. I am particularly concerned with the strategies women used to stretch the limits of acceptable female behaviour and what happened to them if they overstepped those boundaries.

Current Research Projects

I am just completing a monograph on women and the political culture of Jacksonian America, drawing on the example of Anne Royall (1769–1854), an outspoken supporter of Andrew Jackson and critic of his enemies, to illustrate women's involvement in the partisan politics of this period.

Future research projects include a study of the travel diary of a late eighteenth-century woman, as well as further exploration into women's political participation in the early republic.

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