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In the Age of Revolution, how did American women conceive their lives and marital obligations? By examining the
attitudes and behaviors surrounding the contentious issues of family, contraception, abortion, sexuality, beauty, and
identity, Susan E. Klepp demonstrates that many women--rural and urban, free and enslaved--began to radically redefine
motherhood. They asserted, or attempted to assert, control over their bodies, their marriages, and their daughters'
Late-eighteenth-century American women were among the first in the world to disavow the continual childbearing and large
families that had long been considered ideal. Liberty, equality, and heartfelt religion led to new conceptions of
virtuous, rational womanhood and responsible parenthood. These changes can be seen in falling birthrates, in advice to
friends and kin, in portraits, and in a gradual, even reluctant, shift in men's opinions. Revolutionary-era women
redefined femininity, fertility, family, and their futures by limiting births. Women might not have won the vote in the
new Republic, they might not have gained formal rights in other spheres, but, Klepp argues, there was a women's