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Retrospect of Western Travel
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Part of a movement of European intellectuals, such as Alexis de Tocqueville, who came to observe and comment upon the American experiment with democracy, Harriet Martineau arrived in the United States in 1834 and stayed for almost 2 years. Her Retrospect of Western Travel, originally published in 1838, is the noted writer's thoughts on Jacksonian American society. Taken with American ideals of liberty and equality, this staunch activist and vocal thinker never hesitated to voice her thoughts on slavery and women's rights, and her views on abolition were received with much hostility. As one would expect from the feminist and philosopher, she was quite interested in American ways and takes account of many social events (such as weddings) to illustrate matters. Her travels took her through New England, the South, and some of the Mid-West, where she observed such institutions as schools, prisons, and asylums. Recognized for her early work in sociology, Martineau was determined to judge America by American rather than British standards. These two volumes make Martineau's full work available to scholars and interested readers. vol. 1 of 2
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