The friendly jurisprudence and Early Feminism of John Dickinson

Jane E. Calvert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


John Dickinson (1732-1809) was a Founder of the United States whose jurisprudence was greatly influenced by Quakerism. Although he never joined the Religious Society of Friends, Dickinson adopted the basic tenets of their religion, particularly the belief in the Light of Christ in the conscience, which caused them to consider all people spiritually equal, regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic status. The strong and outspoken Quaker women in Dickinson’s life-his mother, wife, daughters, and a range of other female friends and relatives-influenced him to advocate for women in his legal practice and in his work to found the nation. Among the leading Founders, Dickinson was the only one to press for women’s rights, making him an early feminist.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreat Christian Jurists in American History
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781108609937
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2019.


  • Abolitionism
  • Articles of Confederation
  • Female preaching
  • Feminism
  • Founders
  • Founding
  • Founding Fathers
  • Free speech
  • John Dickinson
  • Mary Cadwalader Dickinson
  • Mary Norris Dickinson
  • Quaker
  • Quakerism
  • Society of Friends
  • Women’s rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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