Sabrina Schaeffer (close relation*) has a thought-provoking article up on NRO today about republicanism, gender and how Michele Bachmann might represent an emerging modern republican motherhood.
What’s that? Here’s the gist, but its well-worth the full read:
“The Republican Mother’s life was dedicated to the service of civic virtue; she educated her sons for it; she condemned and corrected her husband’s lapses from it. . . . The theorists [of the early republic] created a mother who had a political purpose and argued that her domestic behavior had a direct political function in the republic.” . . .
The goals of modern republican mothers are broadly similar to those of the original ones: to foster a relationship between citizen and state in which the citizen is sovereign over government. But whereas the republican mother of our Founding era participated in politics only indirectly, the new republican mother plays a decidedly active role in our public life. Gender has been not overcome, but integrated. . .
. . . it is clear that the traditionalism infused with classical liberalism that is peculiar to America has transcended in deep and important ways our modern gender wars. We are sure to see much more of the new republican mother in the years to come.