Margaretta, Trojan Horse


American Founding
women in politics

How to Cite

Margaretta, Trojan Horse: Judith Sargent Murray and Early American Sexual Equality. (2024). The Political Science Reviewer, 47(2), 117-136.


The narrative of the American founding continues to spark debate among scholars. Central to these debates is the question of personal liberty. While the United States was seemingly founded on restoring the freedom withheld from the American colonists by the British Empire, the American Revolution and the founding did not guarantee freedom for all Americans. Notably, women were excluded from the fruits of American independence. If one examines founding era thinkers beyond the canonical founders, however, there is evidence that the roots of sexual equality in America do, in fact, take hold at its origins. This work considers the writings of Judith Sargent Murray, an early American advocate for sexual equality, and her rhetorical argument for the equality of the sexes. Specifically, it examines her use of a reoccurring narrative throughout her most famous essay series to inculcate sympathy for her later, more explicit argument for sexual equality in the new United States. In doing so, this work seeks to expand our understanding of the founding era and reevaluate the role of women in the political history of the United States.