Form and Content
As a result of many years of historical research and writing with her husband, Charles A. Beard, Mary Ritter Beard cultivated a deep desire to examine the role of women in history; Woman as Force in History: A Study in Traditions and Realities is the fulfillment of that desire. Although the author assumed that a difference existed between the traditions and realities of women’s role in history, she made no attempt to reach definite conclusions.
Throughout the book, Beard analyzes the impact of Anglo-American common law and its major exponent, Sir William Blackstone, on the position of women in a male-dominated society. The basic starting point for Beard was to see if women had been in absolute subjection to men in reality or only in tradition. She reviewed the century after the first women’s rights assembly in America, the Seneca Falls Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott in 1848. Beard’s goal was to see if subjection was real, and if it was, to see if total equality based on equity jurisprudence was the answer.
Woman as Force in History traces the attitudes of both men and women concerning woman’s role in history. The author reveals the sins of omission as well as the sins of commission regarding the recognition of women’s impact on the history of the world. Beard looks at various types of writers, such as sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists, as well as historians, in search...
(The entire section is 528 words.)