Print this page Share

Inventing the American Woman: An Inclusive History, Volume 1: To 1877, 4th Edition

ISBN: 978-0-88295-250-5
January 2007, ©2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Inventing the American Woman: An Inclusive History, Volume 1: To 1877, 4th Edition (0882952501) cover image


When the first edition of this groundbreaking survey of U.S. women’s history first appeared in 1986, no one could have predicted its spectacular success and widespread support—or the vast proliferation of women’s history courses in the nation’s high schools, colleges, and universities.

Informed by the generous feedback of many of “Inventing"’s loyal users—student readers and instructors from every region of the nation—the fourth edition of Glenda Riley’s dynamic text remains the most inclusive, accessible, and affordable choice as a core text for the Women’s History course, as well as useful supplementary reading for courses in Women’s Studies and the U.S. survey.

Completely up to date, with expanded coverage of women in the military, sports, women’s healthcare, divorce, and women of color—especially Spanish-speaking, American Indian, African American, and Asian American women—this well-balanced, interpretive account portrays the myriad of women’s experiences as they shaped and were shaped by American history, and redounds as a remarkable feat of insight and inclusion. As always, each volume features a stunning photographic essay, a visual account from the colonial era to the present.

See More

Table of Contents

Introduction: Gender Expectations Across Cultures ix

Chapter One Women In Colonial America to1763 1

Native American Women 2

Spanish-Heritage Women 6

Early Accounts of Native Peoples 8

White Colonial Women 12

African Women 35

Study Guide 47

Suggestions for Further Reading 48

Chapter Two Resistance, Revolution, and Early Nationhood, 1763 to 1812 52

Resistance to England, 1763-1776 53

The American Revolution, 1776-1783 58

Women after the Revolution 70

Republican Women in the Early Nation 77

Women on the Western Frontier 87

Study Guide 97

Suggestions for Further Reading 98

Chapter Three “True” Women in Industrial and Westward Expansion, 1812 to 1837 102

The South 103

The North 114

The West 135

Study Guide 147

Suggestions for Further Reading 148

Images and Realities (Photographs) follow page 152

Chapter Four “Moral” Women Reshaping American Life and Values, 1837 to 1861 153

Women in the South 153

Women in the North 161

Women in the West 191

Study Guide 199

Suggestions for Further Reading 200

Chapter Five “Womanly Strength of the Nation”: The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861 to 1877 207

Civil War, 1861-1865 208

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: Reconstruction, 1865-1877 219

Women in the West 242

Study Guide 252

Suggestions for Further Reading 253

Index xiii  (follows page 260)

See More

Author Information

Glenda Riley is Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History Emeritus at Ball State University. Formerly, she was professor of history and director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Northern Iowa. Professor Riley has also served as visiting endowed professor at University College, Dublin; Marquette University; and Mesa State College, In addition to authoring four editions of Inventing the American Women, Professor Riley has written The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley (1994), A Place to Grow: Women in the American West (1992), Divorce: An American Tradition (1991), The Female Frontier: A Comparative View of Women on the Prairie and Plains (1988), Women and Indians on the Frontier, 1825-1915 (1984), Frontierswomen: The Iowa Experience (1981; 2d ed., 1994), Women and Nature: Saving the “Wild” West (1999), Taking Land, Breaking Land: Women Colonizing the American West and Kenya, 1840-1940 (2003), and Confronting Race: Women and Indians on the Frontier, 1815-1915 (2004), as ell as numerous published articles, reviews, and chapters in edited volumes. Professor Riley now lives on a horse ranch in historic Lincoln County, New Mexico, and is a member of such organizations as the Lincoln County Historical Society and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Posse.
See More


Praise for the 2nd edition:

"This is a wonderful set of two volumes on the history of American women, from the earliest colonial period to the 1990s. It is based on a wide variety of sources, and it is extensively documented. Anyone interested in the history of women in the United States should consult this important work." (The Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Summer 1995)
See More
Back to Top