Consistent Democracy


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

What did it mean that in the world's first mass democracy only a minority ruled and that women—free and enslaved, white and Black, single and married—formed the largest group of people barred from full self-government in nineteenth-century America?

Leslie Butler will discuss how a range of observers and activists, thinkers and reformers responded to these seeming anomalies. Drawing on her new book, she will show how, as these figures queried, critiqued, and sought to make sense of democracy’s exclusions, they compelled Americans to confront their aspirations and anxieties about popular government.


Leslie Butler is an associate professor at Dartmouth College, where she has taught since 2003. Her research, which focuses on nineteenth-century American thought and culture, has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library, as well as AAS as a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellow in 1998-99.