Manuscript of Women, Church, and State: Religion and the Culture of Individual Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

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Note: This is the first draft of the second chapter of a manuscript which through the lens of abolitionism and women's rights, traces the transformation of the ideology of individual rights over the course of the nineteenth century as it expanded to encompass, not just rights in the civil sphere, but rights of the person in private life. Part I of this paper examines nineteenth-century intellectual movements that located moral authority in the individual; Part II outlines the attack on authority within liberal Protestantism; Part III traces the extension of that critique to the state; and Part IV discusses the new forms which rights language took in the antebellum era.