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Civilizing HabitsWomen Missionaries and the Revival of French Empire$
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Sarah A. Curtis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394184.001.0001

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Foothold on the Frontier

Foothold on the Frontier

(p.47) 2 Foothold on the Frontier
Civilizing Habits

Sarah A. Curtis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter follows Philippine Duchesne to Missouri, where she and her RSCJ companions established girls' schools in and around St. Louis and St. Charles. Duchesne struggled against American conceptions of race regarding African Americans and slavery, while promoting a European vision of class difference. The RSCJ schools were among the first available to frontier girls and followed a French curriculum that proved popular with American parents, including Protestants. Duchesne, however, saw the enrollment of Protestants as an opportunity to gain Catholic converts. The chapter argues that the success of the RSCJ in the United States depended on its responsiveness to local needs, while retaining strong ties to France.

Keywords:   Philippine Duchesne, Missouri, St. Louis, slavery, class difference, girls' schools, protestants

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