Friday, March 14, 2008

Identity Politics, circa 1800

In 1800, the increasingly not-so-glorious era in which I lived, it is difficult to imagine whether a female or black candidate would have garnered more support. Neither women nor blacks had much voting power, if at all, so it would have come down to the wealthy white male landowners. Would they have preferred to take it on the chin from a race they viewed as inferior, or in the groin from the sex they so loved to dominate?

My personal theory is that there would have been a split vote. Progressive males would have supported the female - a Wollstonecraft as it were - while the more backward would have opted for what least affected them individually (anything but my wife aspiring to an opinion!)

By my estimation, 1800 would have gone for the latter, but not 1850 (an interesting paradox, since slavery would have been abolished by then). Either way, these prejudicial components do not make me much proud.

Now that I have become addicted to the Internet, motor vehicles, CNN, and a new hobby (American sports - more to come on that later), how can I possibly return to the horse-and-carriage days of my infancy? The only thing I miss from that era is Lizzy and my pal Bingley.

So there you have it Lady Catherine. You tried to banish me, and yet I find contentment. Banish them too! (Wait...how will Lizzy feel about my infatuation for Hillary. On second thought, let's hold off a bit).

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Very interesting piece. I'd be curious to hear more about this from a 19th century perspective.