How Did Susanna Rowson and Other Reformers Promote Higher Education as an
Antidote to Women's Sexual Vulnerability, 1780-1820?
In the early republic, popular novels such as Charlotte Temple highlighted the sexual vulnerability of women. Some reformers advocated education, particularly higher education in female academies, as a partial solution. In founding the Boston Young Ladies' Academy and in publishing educational textbooks, novelist-turned-preceptress Susanna Rowson worked to inculcate practical knowledge, rational thinking, and "goodness of heart"—all aimed at helping her students avoid the pitfalls of characters such as Charlotte Temple and make wise decisions about who to marry.