The Hanging Of Ephraim Wheeler Analysis

1016 Words 5 Pages
Brown, Irene Quenzler and Richard D. Brown. The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler: A Story of Rape, Incest, and Justice in Early America. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.

Thesis: Brown and Brown argue that through the use of "micro history," readers and researchers are able to "explore large questions of policy and principle at the level of actual people and specific experience (7). They challenge the reader to not ascertain Wheeler 's guilt or innocence, but rather if "justice" was served with his execution (11).

Themes: Class is one of the major themes of the text. Wheeler, in 1806, was the first man to be executed for the crime of rape in Massachusetts in twenty-five years and his economic/social status was one
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Because of Betsy 's age and gender, while only 13, she was considered not only single, but a spinster as well- implying a negative connation to the fact that she was unmarried (62). Due to gender roles of the time, not only was Hannah allowed to not testify against her husband in court, she could not testify against him because she was his wife. Ephraim also suffered from attacks on his masculinity due to the fact that he seemed to always be dependent on others for survival and to provide for his family- he was never fully able to take his position as a patriarch and leader, even though that is what was expected of his from society. His masculinity was also attacked by the fact that when separated Hannah was able to provide for herself and their children, and proved that she did not need Ephraim, at least …show more content…
These secondary sources explore crime history, gender roles, racial histories and relationships, religious interaction and histories, and biographies. Examples of journal articles are Laurel Ulrich Thatcher 's " Wheels, Looms, and Gender Division of Labor in the Eighteenth Century" (they actually use several of Thatcher 's monographs and articles)and Hoatling and Sugarman 's " A Risk Market Analysis of Assaulted Wives." Examples of monographs include Richard E. Welch Jr. 's Theodore Sedgwick Federalist: A Political Portrait and Henry F. May 's The Enlightenment in America. An example of a dissertation used is David Oliver Merrill 's Ph.D. dissertation: "Isaac Damon and the Architecture of the Federal Period in New England."

Method Statement: In the style of Natalie Zemon Davis ' The Return of Martin Guerre, Brown and Brown 's micro-history explores the intricacies of the first rape conviction in twenty-five in the state of Massachusetts in 1806, to not only demonstrate trial procedures of the early 19th century, but also give insight to culture, racial relations, and gender roles in Early

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