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Scholastic Literature pp. 64

Complied by C. R. Darnall
University of Nashville Collection, Vanderbilt University Special Collections

In this excerpt, author Sallie P. Davis argues that men are more intelligent than women only because they have had more educational opportunities. But by 1870, the time of this publication the number of educational institutions in Tennessee, especially for women, was growing. Women’s schools offered a curriculum similar to the modern university education including sciences, math, and particular emphases on home skills and literature. These skills were useful in teaching children and managing a household and advocating for themselves outside of the home. Many prominent women in antebellum America attended one of these institutes. Davis’s essay, one of many final student essays complied together to create Scholastic Literature, shows the critical thinking and writing skills women learned at female seminaries and colleges as curricula emphasized rhetorical skills and morality.