Hypatia 36 (1):145-171 (2021)

Mary Townsend
St. John's University
Julia Ward Howe, author of the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” remains known as a poet, abolitionist, and founding member of the antiracist organization American Woman Suffrage Association, but her work on political philosophy and her foundational sense of the necessity for justice and suffrage for all without exception are still unexplored. Howe's speech, “The Position of Women in Plato's Republic” provides a window into the philosophy that shaped the second half of her life and her political organizing. Howe explores problems feminist scholars have often had with Socrates's plans to educate and enfranchise women of the ruling class, analyzes the rhetoric behind Socrates's successful persuasion of reluctant interlocutors, and transforms Plato's arguments into overwhelming rhetorical support for universal suffrage. Howe's intellectual conversion to the cause of suffrage, which occurred later in life and after her support for the 15th Amendment, comes into focus as she wrestles with the questions fundamental to her change of heart: women's moral relationship to human excellence, whether suffrage would destabilize family life, the relationship of gender to divine genderless unity, and the relationship of the Platonic principle of the Good to practical political policy.
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DOI 10.1017/hyp.2020.53
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References found in this work BETA

Plato's Republic and Feminism.Julia Annas - 1976 - Philosophy 51 (197):307 - 321.
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Afterword: Dignity as a Weapon of Love.Jonathan L. Walton - 2018 - In Brandon M. Terry & Tommie Shelby (eds.), To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Harvard University Press. pp. 339-350.

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