In 1827, Catharine Beecher wrote a widely read treatise on female education in which she made plain her belief in separate spheres of action for women and men. Beecher, daughter of the staunch Calvinist minister Lyman Beecher, was not an advocate of full social or political equality for women. She explicitly stated that “heaven has appointed to one sex the superior, and to the other the subordinate station.”1 Yet, in the realm of formal education, she believed that knowledge “is as valuable to a woman as to a man.” She viewed “intellectual cultivation,” including the study of ancient languages, as “advantageous to every mind,” and in pursuit of academic excellence she modeled her Hartford Female Seminary, founded in 1832, on men’s colleges.2


Late Eighteenth Century Advanced Education Female Education Political Equality Separate Sphere 
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  4. 3.
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© Margaret A. Nash 2005

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  • Margaret A. Nash

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