The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay, 1759-1811

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Univ of South Carolina Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 315 pages
MARTHA LAURENS RAMSAY was one of few eighteenth-century southern women whose written records provide a window into her life, her experiences, and convictions. Using Martha Laurens Ramsay's spiritual diary and correspondence and investigating contemporary sources, Joanna Bowen Gillespie has crafted a contextual biography that reconstructs with compelling insights Ramsay's views on patriotism, household management, wifely affection, and personal autonomy. Young Martha's prominent family supported the Revolution's promises and struggled through its postwar uncertainties. During the American Revolution her father, Henry Laurens, was president of the Continental Congress. Martha's brother, John Laurens, was known for his military gallantry in the war and his controversial proposal that slaves help fight for American freedom. Her husband, David Ramsay of Charleston, was a physician, a patriot-politician, and one of the first historians of the American Revolution. From childhood onward Martha was strongly loyal to those men shaping her life circumstances. At the same time she was inwardly determined to make her individual mark, intellectually and spiritually. Her writings articulate a dee

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Contents

Introduction
1
Gladdening the Heart of a Father
19
A Wandering Sheep a Prodigal Daughter
51
Grown Quite a Woman a True American Woman
69
Republican Marriage
105
Relative Duties
125
Slavery and Silence
146
Filiopietism As Citizenship 1810
202
Discontented with Nothing but Her Heart
223
Notes
237
Bibliography
287
Index
307
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