Commonplace Book #91

In 1793, when Burr had first discovered the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, he called it a “work of genius.”  None of his make peers, or the women he occasioned to meet, agreed.  He revealed to his wife his frustration with these people: “It is owing to ignorance or prejudice that I have not yet met a single person who had discovered or would allow the merits of this world?” As Burr conceived the nature of the world around him, unenlightened opinions ultimately did not matter.  He knew, and harbored no doubt, that women could contribute to the growth of knowledge–to the spread of liberty–which was essential in a modern republic.  This was Burr at his most idealistic and his more progressive: The Enlightenment encompassed a radical transformation of women’s minds.  His daughter’s special calling was to prove that Wollstonecraft was right and that women were as capable as men of genius and reflection–that, indeed, “women have souls.”

Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr, 83.