Women do not appear often in the histories of the Democratic-Republican Societies. Americans established about forty of these political organizations in the mid-1790s in opposition to the domestic and foreign policies of the Washington administration.
They belonged to a world of male sociability.
Michelle Orihel, a specialist in gender history in the United States, brings attention to the reality of the role of women in United States history.
“Although women did not participate in the Democratic-Republican Societies, the experience of Elizabeth Oswald suggests that women contributed their labor to the movement in vital, but previously unrecognized ways.”
Orihel shifts focus to the ways women participated in the otherwise male dominated political organizations:
“We can begin to imagine them folding and stitching the pages of political pamphlets, collecting linen rags to make paper on which to print pamphlets and newspapers, and running the print shops where they were sold. From this one experience we can extrapolate that other women likely played a role in printing, distributing, and reacting to the publications of those controversial clubs.”
Dr. Orihel’s research focuses on early American culture, opposition politics, gender history in the United States, and history lessons in pop culture. She is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit her profile.
Michelle Orihel Associate Professor of History
In the age of social media, Dr. Michelle Orihel uses the letters of John and Abigail Adams to teach students to #RememberTheLadies