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Manifest Domesticity

Author(s): Amy Kaplan


Reviewed work(s):
Source: American Literature, Vol. 70, No. 3, No More Separate Spheres! (Sep., 1998), pp. 581606
Published by: Duke University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2902710 .
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Amy
Kaplan

Manifest
Domesticity

of"sepatheideology
he "cultofdomesticity,"

havetogether
provided
ratespheres,"andthe"culture
ofsentiment"
a productive
theworkofwhitewomen
paradigmforunderstanding
increating
a middle-class
American
cultureinthenineteenth
writers
Most studiesof thisparadigmhave revealedthe permecentury.
that
abilityoftheborderthatseparatesthe spheres,demonstrating
theprivatefeminized
space ofthehomebothinfusedandbolstered
values
thepublicmalearenaofthemarket,
andthatthesentimental
wereused to sanctionwomen'sentry
attachedto maternal
influence
whichthosesamevaluestheoretically
intothewidercivicrealmfrom
excludedthem.Morerecently,
scholarshavearguedthattheextenreinforce
sionoffemalesympathy
acrosssocialdividescouldviolently
claimsto
the veryracialand class hierarchies
thatsentimentality
dissolve.'

leavesanother
This deconstruction
ofseparatespheres,however,
to
structural
opposition
oppositionintact:the domesticin intimate
In thiscontextdomestic
theforeign.
has a doublemeaningthatnot
householdtothenationbutalso imaginesboth
onlylinksthefamilial
in oppositionto everything
outsidethe geographicand conceptual
tothe
borderofthehome.The earliestmeaningofforeign,
according
OED, is "outofdoors"or "at a distancefromhome."Contemporary
Englishspeakersreferto nationalconcernsas domesticin explicit
The notionofdomesticpolicy
or implicit
contrast
withtheforeign.
from
makessenseonlyinopposition
toforeign
policy,
anduncoupled
theforeign,
nationalissues are neverlabeleddomestic.The idea of
foreign
policydependsonthesenseofthenationas a domesticspace
?) 1998by
1998.Copyright
American
Volume70, Number3, September
Literature,
DukeUniversity
Press.

582 American
Literature

world
incontrast
to an external
imbuedwitha senseofat-homeness,
a senseoftheforeign
Reciprocally,
perceivedas alienandthreatening.
thatenclosethenationas home.
is necessarytoerecttheboundaries
inthiswaymightshift
thecognitive
Reconceptualizing
domesticity
separatespheres.Whenwe contrast
geography
ofnineteenth-century
the domesticspherewiththe marketor politicalrealm,men and
butwhenwe opposethedowomeninhabita dividedsocialterrain,
women
become
nationalalliesagainst
mestictotheforeign,
menand
divisionis notgenderbutracialdethe alien,and the determining
Thus anotherpartofthe culturalworkof
marcations
ofotherness.
domesticity
mightbe to unitemenandwomenin a nationaldomain
againstwhichthenationcan
and to generatenotionsoftheforeign
be imaginedas home.The borderbetweenthedomesticandforeign,
whenwe thinkofdomesticity
notas a
however,also deconstructs
but as the processof domestication,
staticcondition
whichentails
and thealien.Domesconquering
and tamingthewild,thenatural,
in
and
tic thissense is relatedto the imperialprojectofcivilizing,
oftenbecomemarkers
thatdistinguish
theconditions
ofdomesticity
fromsavagery.
the
Throughtheprocessofdomestication,
civilization
elementsthatmust
homecontainswithinitselfthosewildorforeign
notonlymonitors
the bordersbetweenthe
be tamed;domesticity
tracesofthesavagewithin
civilizedandthesavagebutalso regulates
itself.2

the nationas home,


If domesticity
playsa keyrolein imagining
at thecenterofthehome,playa majorrole
thenwomen,positioned
borderswiththe
indefining
ofthenationanditsshifting
thecontours
whoseworkhas been
Those feminist
criticsand historians
foreign.
in charting
theparadigmofseparatespheres,however,
fundamental
ofdomesticity
to
therelationship
haveforthemostpartoverlooked
Theirworkis worthrevisiting
herebenationalism
andimperialism.
excause theirlanguage,echoingthatoftheirsources,inadvertently
whichscholarshavejustrecently
begunto
poses theseconnections,
Beecher'sTreaforexample,laudsCatherine
pursue.JaneTompkins,
ofworldconquest"and
as "theprerequisite
tiseonDomestic
Economy
drivebehindtheencyclaimsofa laterversionthat"theimperialistic
householdmanual...
of
this
and
determined
clopedism
practicality
state'
theworldinthenameofthe'family
forcolonizing
is a blueprint
underthe leadershipof Christianwomen."3As her titleindicates,
aboutDomesAmerican
Writing
MaryP. Ryan'sEmpireoftheMother:

Manifest
Domesticity
583
1830-1860 employs
heranalysis;
framing
ticity,
empireas a metaphor
to thecontemyetshe neverlinksthispervasiveimperialmetaphor
of imperialexpansionor to the
poraneousgeopoliticalmovement
discourseofManifest
Destiny.
This blindspot,I believe,stemsfrom
the waythatthe ideologyof separatesphereshas shapedscholarandforeign
ship;untilrecently
ithas beenassumedthatnationalism
ofwomen.Isolating
policylayoutsidetheconcernandparticipation
the empireofthe motherfromotherimperialendeavors,
however,
runstworisks:first,
it mayreproducein women'sstudiestheinsularityof an Americanstudiesthatimaginesthe nationas a fixed,
whole;second,
monolithic,
andself-enclosed
geographic
andcultural
thelegacyofseparatespheresthatsees womenas morally
superior
in
to mencanlead to thecurrent
criticism,
moralistic
strain feminist
whichhas shiftedfromcelebrating
theliberatory
qualitiesofwhite
women'swriting
to condemning
theirracism.In thisessayI tryinsteadto understand
thevexedand contradictory
relationsbetween
morality
nor
raceanddomesticity
as an issuenotsolelyofindividual
to
the
nation
as
to
the
institutional
and
simplyinternal
but structural
discursive
processesofnational
expansionandempirebuilding.4
My essay poses the questionof how the ideologyof separate
Americacontributed
to creatingan Amerispheresin antebellum
can empireby imagining
the nationas a homeat a timewhenits
violentconfrongeopolitical
borderswereexpanding
rapidly
through
tationswithIndians,Mexicans,andEuropeanempires.Scholarshave
overlookedthe factthatthe development
ofdomesticdiscoursein
Destiny.
Americais contemporaneous
withthediscourseofManifest
Ifwe juxtaposethespatialrepresentations
ofthesediscourses,they
seem to embodythe mostextremeformof separatespheres:the
homeas a boundedand rigidly
orderedinterior
space is opposedto
theboundlessand undifferentiated
expanding
space ofan infinitely
nation.Yet these spatialand genderedconfigurations
are linkedin
complexwaysthatare dependent
uponracializednotionsoftheforcan
to theideologyofseparatespheres,domesticity
eign.According
be viewedas an anchor,a feminine
counterforce
to themaleactivity
ofterritorial
is
thatdomesticity
conquest.I argue,to the contrary,
circuits
moremobileand less stabilizing;
it travelsin contradictory
bothto expandand contract
theboundariesofhomeandnationand
Thisformoftraveling
to produceshifting
oftheforeign.
conceptions
ofCatherine
Beecherand
canbe analyzedinthewritings
domesticity

584 American
Literature

SaraJosephaHale,whosework,despitetheirideologicaldifferences
as publicfigures,
revealshowtheinternal
relies
logicofdomesticity
thecontradictions
ofnationalist
on,abets,andreproduces
expansion
inthe1840sand1850s.AnanalysisofBeecher'sA Treatise
onDomesticEconomy
demonstrates
thatthelanguageofempirebothsuffuses
ofseparatespheres,whilean analysis
and destabilizesthe rhetoric
ofHale's workuncoversthesharedracialunderpinnings
ofdomestic
and imperialist
discoursethroughwhichthe separatenessof gentheeffort
deredspheresreinforces
to separatetheracesbyturning
The essayconcludeswithsuggestions
blacksintoforeigners.
about
howunderstanding
the imperialreachofdomesticdiscoursemight
remapthewaywe readwomen'snovelsofthe1850sbyinterpreting
theirnarratives
ofdomesticity
andfemalesubjectivity
as inseparable
ofempireandnationbuilding.
fromnarratives
* * a

Domesticity
dominatedmiddle-class
women'swritingand culture
the 1850s,a timewhennationalboundaries
fromthe1830sthrough
wereinviolentflux;duringthisperiodtheUnitedStatesdoubledits
nationalterritory,
completeda campaignofIndianremoval,fought
itsfirst
prolonged
foreign
war,wrestedtheSpanishborderlands
from
As Thomas
Mexico,and annexedTexas, Oregon,and California.
Hietalahas shown,thisconvulsiveexpansionwas less a confident
of ManifestDestinythana responseto crisesof conficelebration
the expansionofslavery,and the racial
denceaboutnationalunity,
ofcitizenship
-crises thatterritorial
identity
expansion
exacerbated.5
evokedprofound
Furthermore,
thesemovements
questionsaboutthe
borderbetweenthedomesticandtheforeign.
In the1831
conceptual
Nationv. theStateofGeorgia,
for
SupremeCourtdecision,Cherokee
example,Indianswere declaredmembersof "domesticdependent
nationalsnorUnitedStatescitizens.6
nations,"neitherforeign
This
makesthedomestican ambiguousthirdrealmbetween
designation
as it placestheforeign
thenationaland theforeign,
insidethegeographicboundariesofthe nation.The uneasyrelationbetweenthe
can alsobe seen inthedebatesovertheandomesticandtheforeign
InthemiddleoftheMexicanWarPresident
ofnewterritory.
nexation
Polkinsistedthatslaverywas "purelya domesticquestion"andnota
he advocatedundermined
"foreign
question"at all,buttheexpansion
thatdistinction
and threatened
domesticunityby raisingthe ques-

Manifest
Domesticity
585
tionofslavery'sextensionintopreviously
foreign
lands.7In debates
aboutthe annexation
ofTexas and laterMexico,bothsides representedthenewterritories
as womento be marriedto theU.S.; Sam
Houston,
forexample,wroteofTexaspresenting
itself"totheUnited
Statesas a brideadornedforher espousals";and PresidentTaylor
accusedannexationists
to"dragCaliaftertheMexicanWaroftrying
forniaintotheUnionbeforeherweddinggarment
has yetbeen cast
aboutherperson."8These visionsofimperialexpansionas marital
unioncarriedwithinthemthespecterofmarriageas racialamalgamation.
Whilepopularfiction
abouttheMexicanWarportrayed
brave
Americanmenrescuingand marrying
MexicanwomenofSpanish
of Mexicohingedon
descent,politicaldebateoverthe annexation
whatwas agreedto be the impossibility
ofincorporating
a foreign
people markedby theirracial intermixing
intoa domesticnation
imaginedas Anglo-Saxon.9
of imOne of the majorcontradictions
perialistexpansionwas thatwhileit stroveto nationalizeand domesticateforeignterritories
and peoples,annexationincorporated
nonwhite
foreign
thenation
subjectsina wayperceivedtoundermine
as a domesticspace.
My pointhereis notto surveyforeign
policybutto suggesthow
suffused
the debatesaboutnadeeplythe languageof domesticity
the representation
of the
tionalexpansion.Ratherthanstabilizing
nationas home,thisrhetoric
thefraught
andcontingent
heightened
a
natureof the boundarybetweenthe domesticand the foreign,
of
thatbreaksdownaroundquestionsoftheracialidentity
boundary
woman'sspherein this
the nationas home.Ifwe beginto rethink
we haveto ask howthediscourseofdomesticity
context,
negotiates
thebordersofan increasingly
expanding
empireanda dividednation.
Domesticdiscoursebothredressesandreenactsthecontradictions
of
itsowndoublemovement
toexpandfemaleinfluence
empirethrough
beyondthe homeand the nationwhilesimultaneously
contracting
woman'ssphereto policedomesticboundariesagainstthethreatof
bothwithinandwithout.
foreignness
At this timeof heightenednationalexpansion,proponents
of a
"woman'ssphere"appliedthelanguageofempireto boththehome
andwomen'semotional
lives."Hersis theempireoftheaffections,"
wroteSarahJosephaHale, influential
editorof Godey's
Lady'sBook,
whoopposedthewomen'srightsmovement
as "theattempt
to take
womanawayfromherempireofhome."'0To educationalreformer

586 American
Literature

HoraceMann,"theempireofthe Home"was "themostimportant


ofall empires,
thepivotofall empiresandemperors."11
Writers
who
counseledwomento renouncepoliticsand economics,
"to leavethe
ofpolitirudecommerceofcampsandthesoulhardening
struggling
cal powerto theharsherspiritofmen,"urgedthemin highlypolitical rhetoric
to takeup a morespiritualcalling,"thedomainofthe
"12 CatherineBeecher
moralaffections
and the empireoftheheart.
givesthiscallinga nationalist
cast inA Treatiseon DomesticEconomywhen,forexample,she uses QueenVictoriaas a foilto elevate
theAmerican"motherand housekeeperin a largefamily,"
who is
as variedcares,and involv"thesovereignofan empiredemanding
ing moredifficult
duties,thanare exactedof her,who wearsthe
crownandprofessedly
ofthegreatestnation
regulatestheinterests
on earth,[yet]findsabundant
leisurefortheaters,
balls,horseraces,
andeverygayleisure." 13 Thisimperial
tropemightbe interpreted
as
a compensatory
anddefensive
effort
toglorify
theshrunken
realmof
femaleagency,in a paradoxofwhatMaryRyancalls"imperialisolathemother
atthecost
tion,"whereby
gainshersymbolic
sovereignty
ofwithdrawal
fromthe outsideworld.14
Forthesewriters,
however,
metaphor
has a materialefficacy
intheworld.The representation
of
thehomeas an empireexistsin tensionwiththenotionofwoman's
sphereas a contracted
space because it is in thenatureofempires
to extendtheirruleovernewdomainswhilefortifying
theirborders
againstexternalinvasionand internalinsurrection.
If,on the one
drawsstrictboundaries
betweenthehomeandthe
hand,domesticity
worldofmen,on theother,itbecomestheengineofnationalexpanthe
sion,thesitefromwhichthenationreachesbeyonditselfthrough
emanation
ofwoman'smoralinfluence.
The paradoxofwhatmightbe called"imperial
domesticity"
is that
fromdirectagencyin themalearenaofcommerce
bywithdrawing
andpolitics,
woman'sspherecanbe represented
bybothwomenand
menas a morepotentagentfornational
The outward
expansion.
reach
in turnenablestheinterior
ofdomesticity
ofthehome.
functioning
In her introduction
to A Treatiseon Domestic
Economy,
Beecherinlinkswomen'sworkat hometotheunfolding
ofAmerica's
extricably
totheworldthebeneficent
globalmissionof"exhibiting
influences
of
whencarriedintoeverysocial,civil,andpoliticalinstituChristianity,
tion"(12).Women'smaternal
formolding
thecharacter
responsibility
ofmenandchildren
has globalrepercussions:
"toAmericanwomen,

Domesticity
587
Manifest
theexaltedprivilege
morethanto anyotherson earth,is committed
thataretorenoofextending
overtheworldthoseblessedinfluences,
vatedegradedman,and'clotheallclimeswithbeauty"'(14).Beecher
withan extendedarchitectural
metaphorin
ends her introduction
ontheglobalexpansion
whichwomen'sagencyathomeis predicated
ofthenation:
whether
they
The buildersofa templeare ofequal importance,
or toiluponthe dome.Thus also with
laboron the foundations,
in the regeneration
of
thoselaborsthatare to be made effectual
the Earth.The womanwho is rearinga familyof children;the
thewomanwho,in herrewomanwholaborsin theschoolroom,
forthe
tiredchamber,
earnswithherneedle,themitetocontribute
eventhehumble
intellectual
and moralelevationofher country;
whoseexampleandinfluence
andformmaybe molding
domestic,
servicessustaina prosperous
ingyoungminds,whileherfaithful
domesticstate;- eachandallmaybe cheeredbytheconsciousness
thegreatestworkthatever
thattheyare agentsin accomplishing
It is thebuilding
ofa gloriwas committed
tohumanresponsibility.
withtheboundsofthe
whosebase shallbe coextensive
ous temple,
earth,whosesummitshallpiercetheskies,whosesplendorshall
beamonalllands,andthosewhohewthelowlieststone,as muchas
thosewhocarvethehighestcapital,willbe equallyhonoredwhen
stars,
ofthemorning
itstop-stone
shallbe laid,withnewrejoicing
of
the
sons
of
God.
(14)
andshoutings
is to unifywomenofdifferent
One politicaleffectofthismetaphor
whilesustaining
class
socialclassesina sharedprojectofconstruction
This imageofsocialunitybothdepends
hierarchy
amongwomen.15
a visionof nationalexpansion,as women's
upon and underwrites
toembracetheentireworld.As thepasvariedlaborscometogether
toteachertospinster,
sage movesdownthesocialscale,frommother
to
thegeographic
reachextendsoutwardfromhometo schoolroom
untilthe"humbledomestic"returnsbackto the"prospercountry,
terms.
ous domesticstate,"a phrasethatcaststhenationinfamilial
twointerdependent
formsof
Women'sworkat homehereperforms
the
unitywhileimpelling
national
labor;itforgesthebondsofinternal
nationoutwardto encompasstheglobe.This outwardexpansionin
ofwoman'sseparatesphereby
turnenablestheinternal
cohesiveness
womenagentsinconstructing
an infinitely
expanding
edifice.
making

588 American
Literature

Beecherthusintroduces
herdetailedmanualon theregulation
of
the homeas a highlyorderedspace by fusingthe boundednessof
thehomewiththeboundlessness
ofthenation.Her1841introduction
bearsa remarkable
resemblance
to therhetoric
ofManifest
Destiny,
particularly
tothispassagebyoneofitsforemost
proponents,
JohnL.
O'Sullivan:
The far-reaching,
theboundlessfuture
willbe theera ofAmerican
greatness.In itsmagnificent
domainofspace andtime,thenation
ofmanynationsis destinedto manifest
to mankind
theexcellence
ofdivineprinciples;
to establishon earththenoblesttempleever
dedicatedto the worshipofthe mosthigh-the Sacred and the
True. Its floorshallbe a hemisphere-itsroofthe firmament
of
the star-studded
heavens,and its congregation
an Unionofmany
Republics,
comprising
hundredsofhappymillions,
calling,owning
no manmaster,butgovernedby God's naturaland morallaw of
equality.16

Whilethesepassagesexemplify
the stereotype
ofseparatespheres
(one describesworkin the homeand the othertheworkofnation
bothuse a commonarchitectural
fromtheBible
building),
metaphor
to builda templecoextensive
withtheglobe.O'Sullivan'sgrammatical subjectis theAmericannation,whichis theimpliedmediumin
Beecher'stextforchanneling
women'sworkat hometo a Christianized world.The construction
ofan edificeordinarily
entailswalling
offtheinsidefromtheoutside,butinboththesecases thereis a paradoxicaleffect
thedistinction
betweeninsideand outsideis
whereby
obliterated
by the expansionofthehome/nation/temple
to encomthe
of ManifestDestinyand domesticity
pass
globe.The rhetorics
sharea vocabulary
thatturnsimperialconquestintospiritual
regenerationin orderto effaceinternalconflict
or externalresistancein
visionsofgeopolitical
domination
as globalharmony.
Althoughimperialdomesticity
ultimately
imaginesa home coextensivewiththe entireworld,it also continually
projectsa map
ofunregenerate
outlying
foreignterrainthatbothgivescoherence
to its boundariesand justifiesits domesticating
mission.Whenin
1869Catherine
BeecherrevisedherTreatise
withhersister,Harriet
BeecherStowe,as TheAmericanWoman's
Home,theydownplayed
theearlierroleofdomesticity
inharmonizing
class differences
while
outwardreach.The bookendsby advocatenhancing
domesticity's

Manifest
589
Domesticity
ingthe establishment
of Christian
neighborhoods
settledprimarily
intopracticedomesticity's
bywomenas a wayofputting
expansive
potential
to Christianize
andAmericanize
immigrants
bothin Northeasterncities and "all overthe West and South,whilealongthe
Pacificcoast,Chinaand Japanare sendingtheirpaganmillionsto
" No longera leveling
shareourfavored
soil,climate,
andgovernment.
factoramongclasseswithin
America,domesticity
couldbe extended
to thoseconceivedofas foreign
bothwithinand beyondAmerican
national
borders:"Erelongcoloniesfrom
theseprosperous
andChristiancommunities
wouldgo forth
to shineas 'lightsoftheworld'inall
thenowdarkenednations.Thus the Christian
family
and Christian
neighborhood
wouldbecomethe grandministry
as theywere designedtobe,intraining
ourwholeraceforheaven."17WhileBeecher
and Stoweemphasizedomesticity's
serviceto "darkenednations,"
theexistenceof"pagans"as potential
converts
a reciprocal
performs
servicein the extensionofdomesticity
to singleAmericanwomen.
Such Christian
womenwithneighborhoods
wouldallowunmarried
outchildrento leave theirworkin "factories,
officesand shops"or
theiridlenessin"refined
leisure"to livedomesticlivesontheirown,
in some cases by adoptingnativechildren.Domesticity's
imperial
reachpositsa wayofextending
woman'ssphereto includenotonly
theheathenbutalso theunmarried
Euro-American
womanwhocan
be freedfrombiologicalreproduction
to ruleherownempireofthe
mother.
Ifwriters
aboutdomesticity
encouraged
theextension
offemaleinfluenceoutward
todomesticate
theirwritings
alsoevoked
theforeign,
thatbringsforeignness
intothe
anxietyabouttheopposingtrajectory
thewidespreadcolonialtropethatcomparescolohome.Analyzing
AnnStolerandKarenSainchez-Eppler
nizedpeopleto children,
have
bothshownhowthismetaphor
can worknotonlyto infantilize
the
as youngsavagesinneed
colonizedbutalsotoportray
whitechildren
This metaphorat once extendsdomesticity
of civilizing.18
outward
to thetutelageofheathenswhilefocusingit inwardto regulatethe
threatofforeignness
ofthehome.ForBeecher,
within
theboundaries
thisinternal
thephysicalhealthofthe
savageryappearsto threaten
mother.
Throughout
theTreatise,
thevisionofthesovereign
mother
withimperialresponsibilities
of
is countered
bydescriptions theailing invalidmother.This contrastcan be seen in the titlesof the
ofAmericanWomen"
firsttwochapters,"PeculiarResponsibilities

Literature
590 American

Peculiarto AmericanWomen."The latterfocuses


and "Difficulties
thatmakesAmericanwomenphysically
on thepervasiveinvalidism
In contrast
to
andemotionally
unequaltotheirglobalresponsibilities.
the ebullient
templebuildingofthefirstchapter,Beecherendsthe
a fragile
frontier
from
secondwitha quotation
Tocquevilledescribing
whose
mother
andvulnerable
homecenteredona lethargic
and energy;
childrenclusterabouther,fullofhealth,turbulence
ofthewilderness;
theirmother
watchesthem
theyaretruechildren
melancholy
andjoy.To lookattheir
from
timetotime,withmingled
andherlanguorone mightimaginethatthelifeshe had
strength,
giventhemexhaustedherown;andstillshe regretsnotwhatthey
has no internal
costher.The house,inhabited
bytheseemigrants,
orloft.In theonechamberofwhichitconsists,
thewhole
partition
forthenight.The dwelling
itselfis a littleworld;
is gathered
family
an arkofcivilization
amidan oceanoffoliage.A hundredstepsbeforest
spreadsitsshadeandsolituderesumes
yondit,theprimeval
itssway.(24)
inhardships
The mother's
healthappearsdrainednotbytheexternal
butbyherintimate
tietoherown"children
flicted
bytheenvironment
ofthewilderness,"
whoviolatetheborderbetweenhomeandprimebytheimageofthe
val forest.This boundary
is partially
reinforced
ordershouldprotect
homeas an "arkofcivilization"
whoseinternal
them.Yettheunitsinhabitants
fromthesea ofchaosthatsurrounds
innerspace,whichlacks"internal
differentiated
partition,"
replicates
ofthewilderness.
The
ratherthandefendsagainsttheboundlessness
orgarestofthetreatise,
withitsdetailedattention
tothesystematic
worksto"partition"
thehomeina waythat
nization
ofthehousehold,
itfromtheexternal
wilderness.19
distinguishes
The infirmity
ofAmerican
mothers
is a pervasiveconcernthroughouttheTreatise,
tolocateinBeecher's
yetitsphysicalcauseis difficult
womenin Northeastern
cities
text.Poorhealthafflicts
middle-class
toBeecher,andshesees
as muchas womenonthefrontier,
according
in which
froma geographic
and socialmobility
bothcases resulting
affects
is movingand changing"(16). This movement
"everything
claimsBeecher,bydepriving
themof
women'shealthmostdirectly,
movreliabledomesticservants.With"trained"servantsconstantly
womenmustresorttohiring"ignorant"
ingup andout,middle-class
" withwhomtheyaresaidinAmeriand"poverty-stricken
foreigners,

Manifest
591
Domesticity
(332).Though
relationship
can Woman's
Hometohavea "missionary"
as thedirectcause ofillness,
Beecherdoes notlabeltheseforeigners
ofhouse"systemandregularity"
theirpresencedisrupts
theorderly
discouraged,
womentobe "disheartened,
keeping,leadingAmerican
herTreatise
Beecherturnsthe
andruinedinhealth"(18).Throughout
a remedy;
absenceofgoodservants-atfirst
a causeofinfirmity-into
womentheopportunity
toperform
regutheirlackgivesmiddle-class
their
lardomesticlaborthatwillrevivetheirhealth.By implication,
workwillalsokeep"poverty-stricken
outof
foreigners"
self-regulated
theirhomes.Curiously,
then,themother'sillhealthstemsfromthe
andservants-who
unruly
subjectsofherdomesticempire-children
wilderness
andundomesticated
intothe
foreignness
bringuncivilized
thatcharacterizes
home.The fearofdisease and ofthe invalidism
the Americanwomanalso servesas a metaphor
foranxietyabout
foreignness
within.The mother'sdomesticempireis at riskofconandcivilize,her
tagionfromtheverysubjectsshe mustdomesticate
infectboth
servants,
whoultimately
wilderness
children
andforeign
thehomeandthebodyofthemother.20
This readingofBeechersuggestsnewwaysofunderstanding
the
intricate
meansby whichdomesticdiscoursegeneratesand relies
on imagesoftheforeign.
On theone hand,domesticity's
"habitsof
systemand order"appearto anchorthehomeas a stablecenterin
a fluctuating
social worldwithexpandingnationalborders;on the
mobiletotravel
mustbe spatially
andconceptually
other,domesticity
frontiers.
Beecher'suse ofTocqueville'sark
to thenation'sfar-flung
moand the self-enclosed
metaphor
suggestsboththe rootlessness
to redefine
themeaning
domesticity
bilitynecessaryformiddle-class
inwhich
tomakeEuro-Americans
feelathomeinterrain
ofhabitation
inverts
thisrelationship
theforeigners.
Domesticity
theyare initially
alienandundomesto createa homebyrendering
priorinhabitants
The empireofthe
newcomers.
ticatedand by implicitly
nativizing
motherthussharesthe logicofthe Americanempire;bothfollow
theforeign,
thus
a doublecompulsion
to conquerand domesticate
withinthe
a threatening
and controlling
foreignness
incorporating
bordersofthehomeandthenation.
* * .

was centralto theworkofSarah


The imperialscope ofdomesticity
herhalf-century
ofthe influeneditorship
JosephaHale throughout

592 American
Literature

andhistory
writing.
tialGodey's
Lady'sBook,as wellas to herfiction
Hale has been viewedby some scholarsas advocatinga woman's
separatefrommalepoliticalconcernsthan
spheremorethoroughly
by the refusalof
seems confirmed
Beecherdid.21
This withdrawal
itsduration,
theCivilWarthroughout
much
Godey's
evento mention
theprogressofwomenwith
less takesides.YetwhenHale conflates
otherscholars
writing,
thenation'sManifestDestinyin herhistory
movingoutofwoman'ssphereinto
havejudgedheras inconsistently
ofseparatespheres,I will
realm.22
Hale'sconception
themalepolitical
ofthenation.
Although
ontheimperial
expansion
argue,is predicated
herwriting
as editor,essayist,and novelistfocusedon the interior
clothing,
spaces ofthe home,withampleadviceon housekeeping,
to the
she gave equal and relatedattention
manners,
and emotions,
heradvocacyoffemalemedithrough
expansionoffemaleinfluence
ofAfricabyformer
cal missionaries
abroadandthecolonization
black
slaves.EventhoughHale seemstoavoidtheissueofslaveryandrace
relationsin her silenceaboutthe CivilWar,in the 1850sher contakeson a decidedlyracialcast,exposingthe
ceptionofdomesticity
linkbetweentheseparateness
ofgenderedspheresandthe
intimate
tokeeptheracesapartinseparatenationalspheres.
effort
In 1846,atthebeginning
oftheMexicanWar,Halelauncheda camDay
Lady'sBooktodeclareThanksgiving
paignonthepagesofGodey's
a campaignshe avidlypursueduntilLincolnmade
a nationalholiday,
in 1863.23This effort
the way in which
the holidayofficial
typified
anddomesticspaces;
Hale's mapofwoman'ssphereoverlaidnational
andrecipesforpreparing
the
Godey's
publisheddetailedinstructions
womenreaderstoagitatefor
Thanksgiving
feast,whileitencouraged
a nationwide
holidayas a ritualofnationalexpansionandunification.
Day stemmedfromitscenterinthedoThe powerofThanksgiving
mesticsphere;Hale imaginedmillionsoffamiliesseatedaroundthe
thevast and shiftunifying
holidaytableat the same time,thereby
in time.This
simultaneity
ingspace ofthenationaldomainthrough
domesticritual,she wrotein 1852,wouldunite"ourgreatnation,by
fromtheSt. Johnto theRio Grande,fromthe
itsstatesandfamilies
If the celebration
Atlanticto the Pacific."24
ofThanksgiving
unites
familiesacross regionsand bringsthemtogetherin an
individual
continental
scopeendows
imaginedcollectivespace,Thanksgiving's
withnational
eachindividual
meaning.
Furthermore,
gathering
family
the founding
of New Enthe Thanksgiving
storycommemorating

Manifest
Domesticity
593
gland-whichin Hale's versionmakesno mention
ofIndians-could
createa commonhistory
bynationalizing
a regionalmythoforigins
andimposing
itontheterritories
mostrecently
wrestedfromIndians
and Mexicans.Hale's campaignto transform
Thanksgiving
froma
regionalto a nationalholidaygrewevenfiercer
withtheapproachof
theCivilWar.In 1859she wrote,"Ifeverystatewouldjoinin Union
Thanksgiving
on the 24thofthismonth,
wouldit notbe a renewed
pledgeofloveandloyalty
totheConstitution
oftheUnitedStates?"25
holiThanksgiving
Day,shehoped,couldavertcivilwar.As a national
in thehome,Thanksgiving
traversesbroad
daycelebrated
primarily
oforigins,to colonize
geographic
circuitsto writea nationalhistory
thewesternterritories,
andtouniteNorthandSouth.
The domesticritualofThanksgiving
couldexpandand unifynationalbordersonlyby also fortifying
thosebordersagainstforeignness;forHale,thenation'sbordersnotonlydefineditsgeographical
limitsbut also set apartnonwhites
withinthe nationaldomain.In
Hale'sfiction
ofthe1850s,Thanksgiving
policesthedomesticsphere
blackpeople,bothfreeandenslaved,
tothedomesbymaking
foreign
ticnationanddenying
thema homewithin
America'sexpanding
borders.In 1852Hale reissuedhernovelNorthwood,
whichhadlaunched
her careerin 1827,witha highlypublicizedchapterabouta New
Hampshire
Thanksgiving
dinnershowcasing
thevaluesoftheAmerican republicto a skepticalBritishvisitor.Forthe1852versionHale
changedthe subtitlefrom"A Tale ofNew England"to "LifeNorth
andSouth"tohighlight
thenewmaterialon slaveryshe had added.26
Pro-union
Hale advocatedAfricancolonization
yetagainstabolition,
as theonlymeansofpreserving
domesticunitybysendingall blacks
inthe
tosettleinAfricaandChristianize
itsinhabitants.
Colonization
1850shad a two-pronged
ideology,
bothto expelblacksto a separate
nationalsphereandto expandU.S. powerthrough
thecivilizing
process; blackChristiansettlerswouldtherebybecomebothoutcasts
fromandagentsfortheAmerican
empire.27
Hale's 1852Northwood
ends withan appealto use Thanksgiving
Day as an occasionto collectmoneyat all Americanchurches"for
the purposeof educatingand colonizingfreepeople of colorand
slaves" (408). This annualcollectionwouldcontribute
emancipated
to "peacefulemancipation"
of
as "everyobstacleto therealfreedom
Americawouldbe meltedbeforethegushingstreamsofsympathy
and charity"(408). While"sympathy,"
a sentiment
associatedwith

594 American
Literature

woman'ssphere,seems to extendto blackslaves,the goal ofsympathyin thispassage is notto freethembutto emancipatewhite


forHale thuscelebrates
Americafromtheirpresence.Thanksgiving
nationalcoherencearoundthedomesticspherewhilesimultaneously
rendering
blackswithin
Americaforeign
tothenation.
For Hale, colonization
wouldnotsimplyexpelblackpeoplefrom
Americanslaveryinto
American
nationality
butwouldalsotransform
a civilizing
characanddomesticating
mission.One ofherNorthern
tersexplainsto the Britishvisitorthat"the destinyofAmericais
to instruct
theworld,whichwe shalldo,withtheaid ofourAngloSaxonbrothers
overthewater.... GreatBritainhas enoughto do at
homeandintheEast Indiestolastheranother
century.
Wehavethis
andAfricato settleandcivilize"(167).Whenhis listeneris
country
he explains,"Thatis thegreatest
toAfrica,
puzzledbythereference
to trainheretheblackmanforhisdutiesas
missionofourRepublic,
a Christian,
thenfreehimandsendhimtoAfrica,
theretoplantFree
StatesandorganizeChristian
civilization"
The
colonization
of
(168).
Africabecomesthegoal ofslaverybymakingitpartofthecivilizing
thusnotonlybanishes
missionofglobalimperialism.
Colonization
blacksfromthedomesticunion,but,as thefinalsentenceofNorthitprovesthat"themissionofAmericanslaveryis to
woodproclaims,
Africa"(408).
Christianize
In 1852 Hale publishedthe novelLiberia,whichbeginswhere
ofLiberiabyfreedblackslaves.28
Northwood
ends,withthesettlement
Seen by scholarsas a retortto UncleTom'sCabin,Liberiacan also
be read as the untoldstoryofStowe'snovel,beginning
whereshe
with
former
blackslavesimmigrating
toAfrica.29
ends,
Although
the
"Mr. Peyton'sExperiment,"
subtitle,
places colonization
underthe
aegis ofwhitemales,thenarrative
turnscolonization
intoa project
In itsoutfromwoman'ssphereinat leasttwodirections.
emanating
the settlement
of Liberiaappearsas an expansion
wardtrajectory,
offeminized
domesticvalues.Yet domesticity
is notonlyexported
to civilizenativeAfricans;
theframing
ofthenovelalso makesAfricancolonization
ofdomesticity
within
necessarytotheestablishment
Americaas exclusively
white.WhileHale writesthatthepurposeof
in
thenovelis to"showtheadvantages
totheAfrican,"
Liberiaoffers
so doingitconstruesall blackpeopleas foreign
to AmericannationalitybyassertingthattheymustremainhomelesswithintheUnited
States.Atthesametime,Hale paintsa pictureofAmericanimperial-

595
Manifest
Domesticity
"What
valuesofdomesticity:
ofthefeminine
ismas theembodiment
othernationcan pointto a colonyplantedfromsuch puremotives
nurtured
bythecounselsand exertionsofitsmostnoble
ofcharity;
from
and sustained,
statesmenandphilanthropists;
and self-denying
andindepenup to a periodofself-reliance
itsfeeblecommencement
(iv). In thispassage
dence,frompureloveofjusticeandhumanity"
to maturity;
as a motherraisingherbaby,Africa,
Americais figured
"self-denial,"
and "love"repre"charity,"
thevocabulary
of"purity,"
sentscolonization
as an expansionofthevaluesofwoman'sseparate
sphere.
ontwo
openswitha threattoAmericandomesticity
The narrative
family
is onhisdeath
Virginia
fronts.
The lastmaleofa distinguished
froma rumored
slaveinsurrecbed,helplessto defendhisplantation
rallywith
led byhis wife,"Virginia,"
tion;thewomenofthefamily,
thatnever
theloyalslavesto defendtheirhomefroman insurrection
occurs.Thus thenovelopenswithseparatespheresgoneawry,with
abedathomeandwhitewomenandblackslaves
themanofthefamily
and soldiers.Whilethe ensuingplotto settle
actingas protectors
bygivingthem
rewardsthoseslavesfortheirloyalty
Liberiaovertly
separatespheres
italso servesto reinstate
freedom
anda homeland,
Americandomesticity
as white.
andreestablish
has theeffect
not
Whenthenarrative
shiftstoAfrica,
colonization
butalso of
blackslavesoutofAmericannationhood
onlyofdriving
A keyfigureinthesettleAfricathrough
domesticity.
Americanizing
owners.
mentis theslaveKeziah,whohasnursedthewhiteplantation
beShe is themostresponsive
to Peyton'sproposalforcolonization
the natives.
cause ofher desirebothto be freeand to Christianize
Africaand
arrivedfrom
morerecently
Herfuture
husband,Polydore,
thusless "civilized,"is afraidto returntherebecause ofhis memtwo
This couplerepresents
and superstition.
oryofnativebrutality
ofcolocentralto thewhiteimagination
facesofenslavedAfricans
nization:the degenerateheathenrepresented
by the man and the
can
bythewoman.Keziah,however,
represented
redeemedChristian
womanat a geographicremove
onlybecomea fullydomesticated
in
WhenKeziahprotectstheplantation
fromAmericandomesticity.
hermaternal
impulseis describedas thatofa wildanimalVirginia,
a "fiercelioness."OnlyinAfricacanshebecomethedomesticcenter
whereshe establishesa homethatresembles
ofthenewsettlement,
Keziahbuildsa privatehomewith
Beecher'sChristian
neighborhood.

Literature
596 American

fenceand garden,and civilizesher husbandwhileexpandingher


andopena Christian
school.
domesticspheretoadoptnativechildren
in
ofherselfand her surroundings Africa
Keziah'sdomestication
in thenovelnotedby Susan
can be seen as a partofthemovement
are represented
as recogRyan,in whichthefreedblackcharacters
Oncebanished
nizablyAmericanonlyat thesafedistanceofAfrica.30
fromthe domesticsphereoftheAmericannation,theycan reproforreadersas Americansin a foreign
terrain.
The
duce themselves
ofLiberiaas a storyofcoloninovelnotonlynarratesthefounding
also colonizesLiberiaas an imitation
zation,butHale's storytelling
theMayflower,
ofAmerica,repletewithimagesofan openfrontier,
oftheAmericanflag.A doublenarrative
movement
andtheplanting
at once contracts
Americanbordersto excludeblacksfromdomesticspaceandsimultaneously
that
expandsU.S.bordersbyrecreating
that
domesticspace inAfrica.The novelthusendswitha quotation
them
comparestheLiberiansettlersto thePilgrimsand represents
nation:
as partofa globalexpansionoftheAmerican
I do notdoubtbutthatthewholecontinent
ofAfricawillbe reI
willbe thegreat
the
of
Liberia
and believe Republic
generated,
inthehandsofGod,inworking
outthisregeneration.
instrument,
The colonyofLiberiahas succeededbetterthanthecolonyofPlymouthdidforthesameperiodoftime.Andyet,inthatlittlecompany
we
whichwas waftedacrossthemighty
oceanin theMayFlower,
see the germsof thisalreadycolossalnation,whose feetare in
whileherheadreposesuponthesnowsofCanada.Her
thetropics,
overtheAtlantic,
feedingthemillionsof
righthandshe stretches
themtohershores,as a refugefrom
theOldWorld,andbeckoning
famineand oppression;
forth
and,at thesametime,she stretches
left
to
and
to
the
old
empires
of
her hand theislandsofthePacific,
theEast. (303)
Africanslavesare brought
to Americato becomeChristianized
and
buttheycannotcompletethispotential
transformation
domesticated,
untiltheyreturn
toAfrica.
Hale's writing
makesrace centralto woman'sspherenotonlyby
fromdomesticnationalism
butalso by seeing
excludingnonwhites
thecapacityfordomesticity
as aninnate,
characteristic
ofthe
defining
race. ReginaldHorsmanhas shownhowby the 1840s
Anglo-Saxon
inpoliticalthought
themeaningofAnglo-Saxonism
had shifted
from

Manifest
597
Domesticity
a historicalunderstanding
of the development
of republicaninstitutionsto an essentialistdefinition
of a singlerace thatpossesses
an innateand uniquecapacityforself-government.31
His analysis,
however,limitsthisracialformation
to the male sphereofpolitics.
Hale's Woman's
Record(1853),a massivecompendium
ofthehistory
ofwomenfromEve to the present,establisheswoman'ssphereas
centralto theracialdiscourseofAnglo-Saxonism;
to her,theempire
ofthemotherspawnstheAnglo-Saxon
nationandpropelsitsnatural
inclination
towardglobalpower.32
In her introduction
to the fourth
partofhervolumeon thepresentera,Hale represents
Americaas
manifesting
theuniversalprogressofwomenthatculminates
in the
Anglo-Saxon
race.To explaintheAnglo-Saxon
"mastery
ofthemind
overEuropeandAsia,"shearguesthat
ifwe traceout the causes ofthissuperiority,
theywouldcenter
in the moralinfluence,
whichtruereligionconferson thefemale
sex.... Thereis stilla morewonderful
exampleofthisuplifting
powerofthe educatedfemalemind.It is onlyseventy-five
years
sincetheAnglo-Saxons
in the New Worldbecamea nation,then
numbering
aboutthreemillionsouls. Now thispeopleformthe
greatAmerican
republic,
witha population
oftwenty
threemillions;
andthedestiny
oftheworldwillsoonbe intheirkeeping!Religion
is free;andthesoulwhichwomanalwaysinfluences
whereGodis
inspiritandtruth,
worshipped
is untrammeled
bycode,orcreed,or
caste.... The resultbeforetheworld-a miracleofadvancement,
American
mothers
traintheirsonstobe men.(564)
Hale herearticulates
theimperiallogicofwhathas been called"rewhichultimately
publicanmotherhood,"
positstheexpansionofmaternalinfluence
beyondthenation'sborders.33
The Manifest
Destiny
ofthe nationunfoldslogicallyfromthe imperialreachofwoman's
influence
fromherseparatedomesticsphere.Domesticity
emanating
makesmanifest
thedestinyoftheAnglo-Saxon
race,whileManifest
forAnglo-Saxon
Destinybecomesin turnthecondition
domesticity.
ForHale domesticity
has twoeffects
on nationalexpansion:it imagines thenationas a homedelimited
by race and propelsthenation
outward
theimperial
reachoffemaleinfluence.
through
Advocatingdomesticity's
expansivemode, Woman'sRecordincludesonlythosenonwhite
womenwhomHale understood
tobe conto the spreadof Christianity
to colonizedpeoples.In the
tributing

598 American
Literature

womanfrom
thirdvolume,Hale designatesas themostdistinguished
to Burma,AnnJudson,
a white
1500to 1830an Americanmissionary
RecordfocusespredomiAmerican(152).The FourthEra ofWoman's
In
development.
nantly
onAmerican
womenas theapexofhistorical
ofEnglishwomen,"in
contrast
to thearistocratic
accomplishments
topopulareducationandpurereligioussentiment
all thatcontributes
amongthemasses,thewomenofAmericaareinadvanceofallothers
ontheglobe.To provethiswe needonlyexaminethelistofAmerican
femalemissionaries,
teachers,editorsand authorsofworksinstrucinthis'Record"'(564).WhileAnglocontained
tiveandeducational,
Saxon menmarchedoutwardto conquernew lands,womenhad a
reachfrom
withinthedomesticsphere.
outward
complementary
can be seen as partofthebroader
ForHale,Africancolonization
globalexpansionofwoman'ssphere.In 1853Hale printedin Godey's
Lady'sBook"AnAppealto the AmericanChristianson Behalfof
the Ladies' MedicalMissionarySociety,"in whichshe arguedfor
the specialneed forwomenphysiciansabroadbecause theywould

women's
bodiesandsouls.34 Herarguhaveuniqueaccesstoforeign

offemalemedicalmissionaries
bothenlarges
mentforthe training
the fieldof whitewomen'sagencyand feminizesthe forceof imas notonlycuring
perialpower.She sees femalemedicalmissionaries
disease but also raisingthe statusof womenabroad:"Allheathen
peoplehave a highreverenceformedicalknowledge.Shouldthey
inthisscience,woulditnotgreatly
findChristian
ladiesaccomplished
ofthosenations,whereone of the
raise the sex in the estimation
is thedegradation
mostseriousimpediments
to moralimprovement
and ignoranceto whichtheirfemaleshave been forcenturiescontoheathenwomenin status,Amerisigned?"(185).Thoughsuperior
can womenwouldaccomplishtheirgoal by imagining
genderas a
commonground,whichwouldgive themspecialaccess to women
abroad.As womentheycouldbe moreeffective
imperialists,
penetratfeminine
colonialspaces,symbolized
bytheharem,
ingthoseinterior
thatremaininaccessible
tomalemissionaries:
Vaccination
is difficult
ofintroduction
amongthepeopleoftheeast,
fromthe ravagesof small-pox.
The
thoughsuffering
dreadfully
Americanmissionat Siamwritesthatthousandsofchildren
were,
lastyear,sweptawaybythisdiseasein thecountry
aroundthem.
Femalephysicians
couldwintheirwayamongthesepoorchildren

Manifest
Domesticity
599
mucheasierthandoctorsof the othersex. Surelythe abilityof
American
womentolearnandpracticevaccination
willnotbe questioned,whenthemoredifficult
artofinoculation
was discovered
by
thewomenofTurkey,
and introduced
intoEuropeby an English
woman!Inoculation
is oneofthegreatesttriumphs
ofremedialskill
overa sureloathsome
anddeadlydiseasewhichtheannalsofMedical Artrecord.Its discovery
belongsto women.I nameit hereto
showthattheyare giftedwithgeniusfortheprofession,
and only
needtobe educatedtoexcelinthepreventive
department.
Let pious, intelligent
womenbe fitlyprepared,and what a
mission-field
fordoinggoodwouldbe opened!In India,China,Turkey,andall overtheheathenworld,theywould,intheircharacter
ofphysicians,
findaccess to thehomesandharemswherewomen
dwell,andwherethegoodseed sownwouldbear an hundredfold,
becauseitwouldtakerootinthebosomofthesufferer,
andinthe
heartofchildhood.
(185)
In thispassagetheconnections
amongwomencirculatein manydirections,
butHale chartsa kindofevolutionary
narrative
thatplaces
American
womenattheapexofdevelopment.
was
Thoughinoculation
discoveredbyTurkishwomen,it can onlyreturnto Turkeyto save
Turkishchildren
theagencyofEnglishwomentransporting
through
who can thengo to Turkeyas missionarknowledgeto Americans,
ies and save womenwho cannotsave themselvesor theirchildren.
WhileHale is advocating
thatunmarried
womenbe trainedas missionaries,the needs of heathenwomenallowfemalemissionaries
to conquertheirowndomesticempirewithoutreproducing
biologicast as menin
cally.Instead,Americanwomenare metaphorically
a cross-racial
union,as theysow seeds in the bosom of heathen
womenwhowillbear Christian
children.
Throughthe sentiment
of
femaleinfluence,
willtransform
heathenharems
womenphysicians
intoChristian
homes.
MyreadingofHale suggeststhattheconceptoffemaleinfluence
so centralto domesticdiscourseand at the heartofthe sentimental ethosis underwritten
byandabetstheimperialexpansionofthe
nation.Whilethe empireofthemotheradvocatedretreatfromthe
ofmen,thisrenunciation
world-conquering
enterprises
promiseda
morethorough
kindofworldconquest.The empireofthe mother
sharedwiththeAmerican
anda keycontraempirea logicalstructure

600 American
Literature

diction:bothsoughtto encompasstheworldoutsidetheirborders;
yetthissame outwardmovement
contributed
to and reliedon the
ofthedomesticsphereto excludepersonsconceivedof
contraction
as raciallyforeign
withinthoseexpanding
national
boundaries.
* * .

the imperialreachofdomesticity
Understanding
and its relationto
theforeign
shouldhelpremapthecriticalterrain
uponwhichwomen's
fiction
hasbeenconstructed.
domestic
Wecanchartthebroaderinternationaland nationalcontextsin whichunfoldnarratives
offemale
thatat firstglance seem anchoredin local domestic
development
spaces.We can see howsuchnarratives
imaginedomesticlocations
incomplexnegotiation
withtheforeign.
To takea fewwell-known
examplesfrom
the1850s,SusanWarner'sTheWideWideWorld
sendsits
heroineto Scotland,
whiletheworldofMariaCummins'sTheLamplighter
encompassesIndia,Cuba,theAmericanWest,and Brazil.In
E. D. E. N. Southworth's
TheHiddenHand,the resolution
of multipledomesticplotsinVirginiarelieson theparticipation
ofthemale
in theMexicanWar,whilethegeographiccoordinates
characters
of
UncleTom'sCabinextendnotonlyto Africaat the end butalso to
HaitiandCanadathroughout.35
Sucha remapping
wouldinvolvemore
thanjustseeingthegeographicsettingsanew;itwouldturninward
to theprivileged
space ofthedomesticnovel-theinteriority
ofthe
femalesubject-tofindtracesofforeignness
thatmustbe domesticatedor expunged.How does thisstrugglewithforeignness
within
"woman'ssphere"shape the interiority
of femalesubjectivity,
the
empireoftheaffections
and theheart?Whilecriticssuchas Gillian
Brown,RichardBrodhead,
andNancyArmstrong
havetaughtus how
domesticnovelsrepresent
womenas modelbourgeoissubjects,36
my
wouldexplorehowdomesticnovelsproducetheracialized
remapping
nationalsubjectivity
ofthe whitemiddle-class
womanin contested
international
spaces.
such as winManydomesticnovelsopen at physicalthresholds,
dows or doorways,
thatproblematize
the relationbetweeninterior
andexterior;
thehomeandthefemaleselfappearfragileandthreatened fromwithinand withoutby foreign
forces.These novelsthen
the
breakdown
of
the
explore
boundaries
betweeninternal
andexternalspaces,betweenthedomesticandtheforeign,
as theystruggle
to
renegotiate
andstabilizethesedomains.Thisnegotiation
oftentakes

Domesticity
601
Manifest
placenotonlywithinthehomebutalso withintheheroine.The narthatis so centraltothedomesticnovel
rativeoffemaleself-discipline
processinwhichthewoman
mightbe viewedas a kindofcivilizing
playstheroleofbothcivilizerandsavage.Gertyin TheLamplighter,
forexample,like Capitolain TheHiddenHand,firstappearsas an
whose
uncivilizedstreeturchin,a heathenunawareof Christianity
andwhoseunrulynatureis in
angeris viewedas a "darkinfirmity"
We laterlearnthatshe was bornin Brazilto
needofdomesticating.
ofa shipcaptain,
whowas killedbymalaria,the"inhosthedaughter
foritsvictim."37
pitablesoutherndisease,whichtakesthestranger
motherofherowndomesticempire,Gerty
To becomethesovereign
mustbecomeherownfirstcolonialsubjectandpurgeherselfofboth
heroriginina diseaseduncivilized
terrain
andthefemaleangeridenwiththat"dark"realm.Thissplitbetweenthecolonizerandthe
tified
appearsin Uncle
colonized,seen herewithinone femalecharacter,
ontoEva andTopsy.38
Tom'sCabinraciallyexternalized
My pointis thatwherethe domesticnovelappearsmostturned
findsubjecwe often
inward
totheprivate
sphereoffemaleinteriority,
ofnationandempire.Evenattheheartof
tivity
scripted
bynarratives
closas thoroughly
a novelusuallyunderstood
TheWide,WideWorld,
herselfthrough
etedin interior
space,wheretheheroinedisciplines
of
book is the popularbiography
readingand prayer,her favorite
ofthenation.Herownjourneytolive
thefather
GeorgeWashington,
withherScottishrelatives
reenactment
of
canbe seenas a feminized
in The
theAmericanrevolution
againsttheBritishempire.Similarly,
HiddenHand,themostinnerrecessofwoman'ssphereis conjoined
withthemalesphereofimperialconquest.WhiletheAmerican
men
in thenovelare invading
Mexico,in Virginia,
a bandit,significantly
named"BlackDonald,"invadestheheroine'schamberandthreatens
to rapeher.To protectthesanctity
ofherhomeand herownchasofconquest.She
a founding
nationalnarrative
tity,
Capitolaperforms
a trapdoorin herbedroomintoa deep pit
dropstherapistthrough
into
dugbytheoriginalownerinordertotricktheIndianinhabitants
sellingtheirland.The domesticheroinethusreenactstheoriginatto protectthebordersofher
inggestureofimperialappropriation
ofthefemaleself.
domesticempireandtheinviolability
that
established
Feminist
criticism
ofUncleTom'sCabinhas firmly
theempireofthemotherin Stowe'snovelextendsbeyondthehome
to the nationalarenaof antislavery
politics.This expansivemove-

602 American
Literature

mentoffemaleinfluence,
I havebeen arguing,
has an international
dimension
thathelpsseparategenderedspherescoalescein theimperialexpansionofthenationbyredrawing
domesticbordersagainst
In lightof myreadingof Hale's Liberia,we mightrethe foreign.
mapthe criticalterrainofStowe'snovelto ask howits delineation
ofdomesticspace,as bothfamilial
reliesuponandproandnational,
pels the colonization
ofAfricaby thenovel'sfreeblackcharacters.
Ratherthanjustfocusing
on theirexpulsionat theendofthenovel,
we mightlocate,inToniMorrison's
terms,"the"Africanist
presence"
thetext.39
throughout
Africaappearsas bothan imperialoutpostand
a naturalembodiment
ofwoman'ssphere,a kindoffeminized
utopia,
thatis strategically
posedas an alternative
to Haiti,whichhoversas
a menacingimageofblackrevolutionary
agency.The idea ofAfrican
colonization
does notsimplyemergeat the end as a racistfailure
ofStowe'spoliticalimagination;
the
rather,
colonization
underwrites
racialpoliticsofthedomesticimagination.
The "Africanist
presence"
throughout
UncleTom'sCabinis intimately
boundtotheexpansionist
logicofdomesticity
itself.In thewriting
ofStoweandhercontemporaryproponents
ofwoman'ssphere,"Manifest
Domesticity"
turnsan
imperialnationintoa homebyproducing
and colonizing
spectersof
theforeign
thatlurkinsideandoutsideitsevershifting
borders.
MountHolyokeCollege
Notes

I wishtothanktheorganizers
oftheconference
"Nineteenth-Century
American WomenWritersin theTwenty-First
Century"(Hartford,
May 1996)for
inviting
metopresentmyfirst
formulation
oftheideasinthisessay.Special
thanksto SusanGillman,
CarlaKaplan,Dana D. Nelson,and PriscillaWald
fortheirhelpful
andencouraging
readingsatcrucialstages.
1 Influential
studiesof thisparadigmby historians
and literarycritics
includeBarbaraWelter,
"TheCultofTrueWomanhood,"American
Quar18 (summer1966):151-74;Kathryn
Beecher:
terly
KishSklar,Catherine
A StudyinAmerican
Domesticity
(New Haven:Yale Univ.Press,1973);
NancyCott,TheBondsofWomanhood:
"Woman's
Sphere"
inNewEngland,
1780-1835 (New Haven:Yale Univ.Press,1977); Ann Douglas,The
Feminization
ofAmerican
Culture(NewYork:Knopf,
1977);NinaBaym,
Fiction:AGuidetoNovelsbyandaboutWomen
Woman's
1820inAmerica,
1870(Ithaca,N.Y: CornellUniv.Press,1978);MaryP. Ryan,Cradleofthe
MiddleClass:TheFamilyin OneidaCounty,
NewYork,
1790-1865(Cam-

Manifest
Domesticity603

bridge,Eng.:CambridgeUniv.Press,1981),and EmpireoftheMother:
American
Writing
aboutDomesticity,
1830-1860(NewYork:Institute
for
Researchin Historyand HaworthPress,1982);MaryKelley,Private
PublicStage:Literary
inNineteenth-Century
America
Woman,
Domesticity
(NewYork:OxfordUniv.Press,1984);JaneTompkins,
Sensational
Designs:The CulturalWorkofAmericanFiction,1790-1860 (New York:
Oxford
Univ.Press,1985);GillianBrown,
Domestic
Individualism:
ImaginingSelfin Nineteenth-Century
America(Berkeleyand Los Angeles:
Univ.ofCalifornia
Press,1990);andtheessaysin TheCulture
ofSentiment:Race,Gender,
and Sentimentality
in Nineteenth-Century
America,
ed. ShirleySamuels (New York:OxfordUniv.Press,1992). See also
theusefulreviewessaybyLindaK. Kerber,"SeparateSpheres,Female
Worlds,
Woman'sPlace:The Rhetoric
ofWomen'sHistory,"
TheJournal
ofAmerican
History
(June1988):9-39.
On theetymology
oftheworddomestic
and itsrelationto colonialism,
see KarenHansen,ed.,African
Encounters
withDomesticity
(NewBrunswick,N.J.:RutgersUniv.Press,1992),2-23; andAnneMcClintock,
ImperialLeather:Race,Gender,
and Sexuality
in theColonialContest
(New
York:Routledge,
inthecolonial
1995),31-36.On theuses ofdomesticity
see VicenteL. Rafael,
"ColonialDomesticity:
WhiteWomenand
context,
UnitedStatesRulein thePhilippines,"
Literature
67 (DecemAmerican
ber1995):639-66.
Tompkins,
Sensational
Designs,
143,144.DespiteTompkins's
well-known
debatewithAnnDouglas,bothcriticsrelyon imperialrhetoric.
While
Tompkins
applaudstheimperialist
impulseofsentimentalism,
Douglas
deridessentimental
writers
fora rapaciousreachthatextendsas faras
the"colonization
ofheaven"andthe"domestication
ofdeath"(240-72).
Evenrecentrevisionist
studiesthatsituatewoman'sspherein relation
toracialandclasshierarchies
in
oftenoverlook
theinternational
context
whichthesedivisionsevolve.In theimportant
essaysin Culture
ofSenforexample,manyoftheracializedconfigurations
ofdomesticity
timent,
underdiscussionrelyon a foreign
or imperialdimension
thatremains
To takea fewexamples,
LauraWexler'sanalysisofHampton
unanalyzed.
Institute
makesno mentionofits founding
missionaries
by influential
to Hawaii ("TenderViolence:LiteraryEavesdropping,
DomesticFiction,and EducationalReform,"
9-38); KarenHalttunen's
analysisofa
murder
trialrevolvesaroundtheuncertain
ofa whitewoman's
identity
foreign
Spanishor Cubanlover("'DomesticDifferences':
Competing
in theMurderTrialofLucretiaChapman,"
Narratives
ofWomanhood
39-57); LynnWardleytiesdomesticity's
obsessionwithdetailto West
African
fetishism
("Relic,Fetish,Femmage:
TheAesthetics
ofSentiment
in theWorkof Stowe,"203-20). Severalessaysnotecomparisons
of
KarcheronLydiaMaria
slaverytotheoriental
harem,including
Carolyn
Child'santislavery
fiction("Rape,Murder,and Revengein Slavery's

604 American
Literature

5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

13
14
15

16
17

FictionandtheLimits
PleasantHomes:LydiaMariaChild'sAntislavery
Slave
ofGenre,"58-72)andJoyKasson'sanalysisofHirams'sTheGreek
("Narratives
oftheFemaleBody:TheGreekSlave,"172-90).The only
ofdomesticity
is Lora Romero's
essayto treattheimperialdimensions
Empire,
andNewHistoricism"
(115-27).
"Vanishing
Americans:
Gender,
in Late
ThomasR. Hietala,Manifest
Design:AnxiousAggrandizement
America(Ithaca,N.Y.:CornellUniv.Press,1985).
Jacksonian
in MajorProblems
inAmerican
Cherokee
Nationv. theStateofGeorgia,
Foreign
Policy:Documents
and Essays,ed. ThomasG. Paterson,2 vols.
(Lexington,
Mass.:Heath,1989),1:202.
Quotedin WalterLa Feber,TheAmerican
Age: UnitedStatesForeign
1989),112.
Policyat HomeandAbroad(NewYork:Norton,
Quotedin GeorgeB. Forgie,Patricidein theHouseDivided:A Psycho1979),
logicalInterpretation
ofLincolnand His Age (NewYork:Norton,
107-8.
On popularfiction
Tothe
oftheMexicanWar,see RobertW.Johannsen,
TheMexicanWarin theAmerican
Imagination
HallsoftheMontezumas:
(NewYork:Oxford
Univ.Press,1984),175-204.
Lady'sBook,January
1852,
SarahJosephaHale,"Editor'sTable,"Godey's
88.
112.
QuotedinRyan,EmpireoftheMother,
ofWoman,"North
American
Review,
April
From"The Social Condition
Her:Fantasyand
TheLandBefore
1836,.513;
quotedinAnnette
Kolodny,
1630-1860(ChapelHill:Univ.of
Experience
oftheAmerican
Frontiers,
NorthCarolinaPress,1984),166.
CatherineBeecher,A Treatiseon DomesticEconomy(Boston:Marsh,
tothiswork
Capen,Lyon,andWebb,1841),144.Subsequentreferences
inthetext.
arecitedparenthetically
Ryan,EmpireoftheMother,
97-114.
Kathryn
KishSklaris oneofthefewscholarsto considerBeecher'sdoShe analyzestheTreatise
mesticideologyin relation
to nationbuilding.
denominator,
andas using
as appealingto genderas a commonnational
national
unityto counterbalance
modomesticity
as a meanstopromote
basedonclassandregion.Sklarfailstosee,however,
bilityandconflicts
thatthisvisionofgenderas a toolfornationalunityis predicated
upon
the nation'simperialrole (Catherine
Beecher).JenineAbboushiDallal
ofBeecher'sdomestic
dimensions
ideology
byconanalyzestheimperial
it withthedomesticrhetoric
ofMelville'simperialadventure
trasting
in "The BeautyofImperialism:
Emerson,Melville,Flaubert,
narratives
andAl-Shidyac"
1996),chap.2.
(Ph.D.diss.,HarvardUniversity,
" inMajorProblems
JohnL. O'Sullivan,
"The GreatNationofFuturity,
in
American
ed. Paterson,
1:241.
Foreign
Policy,
Catherine
BeecherandHarrietBeecherStowe,TheAmericanWoman's
Home(Hartford,
Conn.:J.B. Ford,1869),458-59.

Manifest
Domesticity605
18 KarenSatnchez-Eppler,
"RaisingEmpireslike Children:Race, Nation,
andReligiousEducation,"
American
Literary
History
8 (fall1996):399425;AnnStoler,Raceand theEducationofDesire:Foucault's"History
of
Sexuality"
and theColonialOrderofThings(Durham,N.C.: Duke Univ.
Press,1995),137-64.
19 Although
thecleanliness
andorderliness
ofthehomepromisesto make
American
womenhealthier,
Beecheralsoblamesa lackofoutdoorexerciseforAmerican
women'sfrailty,
suggesting
thattheproblematic
space
- canbothcauseandcurethose"difficuloutsidethehome- theforeign
tiespeculiartoAmerican
women."
20 Thisgeneralized
anxiety
aboutcontamination
ofthedomesticsphereby
children
ofstoriesbymissionaries
who
maystemfromthecirculation
expressedfearoftheirchildren
beingraisedbynativeservantsor too
withnativeculture.Such storiescirculated
bothin
closelyidentifying
women'smagazinessuchas
popularmissiontractsandin middle-class
and Mother's
Godey's
Magazine;see, forexample,Stoler,Race and the
Education
ofDesire;andPatriciaGrimshaw,
PathsofDuty:American
MissionaryWivesin Nineteenth-Century
Hawaii (Honolulu:Univ.ofHawaii
Press,1989),154-78.The licentiousness
ofmenwas alsoseenas a threat
to women'shealthwithinthehome.Forexample,in "Lifeon the Rio
Grande"(Godey's
theopenLady'sBook,April1847),a piececelebrating
ingofpublicschoolsin Galveston,
Texas,SarahJosephaHale quotesa
military
officer
whowarnsthat"liberty
is everdegenerating
intolicense,
andmanis pronetoabandonhissentiments
hispassions.Itis
andfollow
woman'shighmission,
herprerogative
andduty,
tocounsel,tosustainas to controlhim"(177). On theborderlands,
womenhavetheroleof
civilizing
savageryintheirownhomes,wheremen'spassionsappearas
theforeign
forcetobe colonized.
Ingeneral,domesticity
is seenas anideology
thatdevelopsinmiddleclassurbancenters,(and,as Sklarshows,incontrast
toEuropeanvalues)
and is thenexportedto thefrontier
and empire,whereit meetschallengesandmustadapt.Itremainstobe studiedhowdomesticdiscourse
withforeign
culturesinwhathas
mightdevelopoutoftheconfrontation
beencalledthe"contact
andempire.
zone"offrontier
21 Sklar,Catherine
Beecher,
163;Douglas,Feminization
ofAmerican
Culture,
51-54.
22 NinaBaym,"OnwardChristian
Women:SarahJ.Hale's Historyofthe
NewEnglandQuarterly
World,"
63 (June1990):249-70.
23 SarahJ.Hale,"Editor'sTable,"Godey's
Lady'sBook,January
1847,53.
24 SarahJ.Hale,Godey's
Lady'sBook,November
1852,303.
Hale (Philadelphia:
25 RuthE. Finley,TheLadyofGodey's,
SarahJosepha
Lippincott,
1931),199.
26 SarahJ.Hale, Northwood;
or,LifeNorthand South:ShowingtheTrue
Character
ofBoth(NewYork:H. Long and Brother,
1852.)See Hale's

606 American
Literature

27

28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35

36

37

38
39

" onrevisions
ofthe1827edition.
1852preface,
"AWordwiththeReader,
inthetext.
willbe citedparenthetically
Further
references
toNorthwood
ofAfrican
colonization,
see George
On thewhiteideological
framework
Fredrickson,
TheBlackImagein theWhiteMind:TheDebateonAfro1817-1914(NewYork:HarperandRow,
American
Character
andDestiny,
1971),6-22, 110-17;Susan M. Ryan,"ErrandintoAfrica:Colonization
andNationBuildingin SarahJ.Hale'sLiberia,"NewEnglandQuarterly
68 (December1995):558-83.
Upper
Experiment
(1853;reprint,
SarahJ.Hale,Liberia;orMr.Peyton's
SaddleRiver,N.J.:GreggPress,1968).
On Liberiaas a conservative
rebuff
to Stowe,see ThomasF. Gossett,
MethCulture(Dallas,Tex.:Southern
"UncleTom'sCabin"andAmerican
odistUniv.Press,1985),235-36.
572.
SusanRyan,"ErrandintoAfrica,"
Destiny:
TheOrigins
ofAmerican
ReginaldHorsman,
RaceandManifest
HarvardUniv.Press,1981),62-81.
RacialAnglo-Saxonism
(Cambridge:
1853).
SarahJ.Hale,Woman's
Record(NewYork:Harper& Brothers,
Intellect
andIdeology
inRevoluLindaK. Kerber,Women
oftheRepublic:
America(ChapelHill:Univ.ofNorthCarolinaPress,1980).
tionary
SarahJ.Hale,"AnAppealto theAmericanChristians
on Behalfofthe
Society,"Godey's
Lady'sBook,March1852,
Ladies' MedicalMissionary
185-88.
NewYork:Feminist
SusanWarner,
TheWideWideWorld(1850;reprint,
TheLamplighter
(1854;reprint,
Press,1987);MariaSusannaCummins,
Univ.Press,1988);E. D. E. N.Southworth,
NewBrunswick,
N.J.:Rutgers
New BrunsTheHiddenHand;or,CapitolaTheMadcap(1859;reprint,
wick,N.J.:RutgersUniv.Press,1988); HarrietBeecherStowe,Uncle
Tom'sCabin(1852;reprint,
NewYork:VikingPenguin,
1981).
A PoliticalHistory
DesireandDomestic
Fiction:
ofthe
NancyArmstrong,
Domestic
IndividualNovel(NewYork:Oxford
Univ.Press,1987);Brown,
ism;RichardBrodhead,
"SparingtheRod:DisciplineandFictioninAntebellumAmerica,"in TheNewAmerican
Studies:Essaysfrom"Represened. PhilipFisher(BerkeleyandLos Angeles:Univ.ofCalifornia
tations,"
Press,1991).
involvement
TheLamplighter,
63,321.Onthemalecharacters'
Cummins,
in Indiain TheLamplighter,
in imperialenterprises
see Susan CasteandtheProjectofNation-Building"
llanos,"MasculineSentimentalism
attheconference
WomenWriters
"Nineteenth-Century
(paperpresented
intheTwenty-First
Hartford,
May1996).
Century,"
On thissplit,see ElizabethYoung,"Topsy-Turvy:
CivilWarand Uncle
Tom'sCabin,"chap.1 ofA WoundofOne'sOwn:Genderand Nationin
American
CivilWarWriting
(forthcoming).
Women's
ToniMorrison,
andtheLiterary
ImaginaPlayingin theDark:Whiteness
tion(Cambridge:
HarvardUniv.Press,1992),6.

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