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Religions 2017, 8(9), 183; doi:10.3390/rel8090183

“A Religious Recognition of Equality”: Liberal Spirituality and the Marriage Question in America, 1835–1850

Department of English, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Brockport, NY 14420, USA
Received: 16 July 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
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Abstract

Studying texts by Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Grimke, and Margaret Fuller, this article seeks to recover the early phases of a dialogue that moved marriage away from an institution grounded in ideas of unification and toward a concept of marriage grounded in liberal ideas about equality. It seeks to situate the “marriage question” within both the rhetoric of American antebellum reform and of liberal religious thought. Rather than concluding that these early texts facilitated a movement toward a contractarian ideal of marriage this article concludes that Child, Grimke, and Fuller, sought to discredit unification as an organizing idea for marriage and replace it with a definition that placed a spiritual commitment to equality between the partners as the animating core of the idea of marriage. View Full-Text
Keywords: Transcendentalism; marriage reform; liberalism; Margaret Fuller; Lydia Maria Child; Sarah Grimke Transcendentalism; marriage reform; liberalism; Margaret Fuller; Lydia Maria Child; Sarah Grimke
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Garvey, G. “A Religious Recognition of Equality”: Liberal Spirituality and the Marriage Question in America, 1835–1850. Religions 2017, 8, 183.

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