This is a soul-stirring era,"e; remarked the Reverend William Mitchell in 1835, "e;and will be so recorded in the annals of time."e; Countless antebellum reformers agreed. The United States was awash in efforts to change itself, a "e;sisterhood of reforms"e; emerging to characterize the efforts of hundreds of thousands of Americans. In all of this, women played an important role.
In her latest publication, Professor Ginzberg offers a view of women and antebellum reform through two lenses: one focused on the ideas about women, religion, class, and race that shaped reform movements; and another that observes actual women as they participated in the work of social change. For women, a commitment to reform offered a broader sense of their place in the world-and of their responsibility to set it aright. By considering the efforts of these women-distributing bibles, tracts, and charity, fighting intemperance, opposing slavery, or demanding their rights as women-the reader gains a richer understanding of the antebellum era itself.