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By Robin Miskolcze

At a vital time in American historical past, narratives of ladies in command or imperiled at sea contributed to the development of a countrywide rhetoric. Robin Miskolcze makes her case in terms of cautious readings of pictures of girls at sea earlier than the Civil warfare in her ebook Women and kids First. although the ocean has usually been interpreted because the province of fellows, ladies have long gone to sea as moms, other halves, figureheads, and slaves. in reality, within the 19th century, girls at sea contributed to the formation of an ethics of survival that helped to outline American beliefs. This examine examines, usually for the 1st time, photographs of ladies at sea in antebellum narratives starting from novels and sermons to newspaper bills and lithographs.
Anglo-American girls in antebellum sea narratives are frequently portrayed as versions of yankee beliefs derived from women’s doubtless innate Christian self-sacrifice. Miskolcze argues that those beliefs, along side the maritime directive of “women and kids first” in the course of sea mess ups, in flip outlined a brand new masculine individualism, one who was once morally minded, rooted in Christian ideas, and devoted to maintaining advantage. extra, Miskolcze contends that with out the antebellum sea narratives portraying the Christian self-sacrifice of ladies, the abolitionist reason might have suffered. African American ladies appealed to the directive of “women and kids first” to make appear their very own womanhood, and through extension, their very own humanity.

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