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Lewis Lapham: Drunk Lout, Teen Wife Enraged Irish Aristo

'The Undivided Past'
"The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences," by David Cannadine. Source: Knopf via Bloomberg

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Everyone should have the same opportunities to get ahead in business, the professions and politics. It’s not happening because men reserve power and privilege for themselves.

(To listen to the podcast, click here.)

To keep women down, men perpetuate the notion that the female sex is less intelligent, more emotional and essentially passive.

This view of gender inequality was expressed by William Thompson, a privileged and well-educated Irishman, in “Appeal of One-Half of the Human Race, Women, Against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men, to Retain them in Political, and Thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery.”

Thompson wrote the work in 1825, inspired by the fate of Anna Wheeler. She was married at 15 and bore six children before fleeing to France from her drunken husband.

I spoke with David Cannadine, author of “The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences,” on the following topics:

1. Religious Conflict

2. Class Struggle

3. Racial Division

4. War Between the Sexes

5. Shared Humanity

To buy this book in North America, click here.

(Lewis Lapham is the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s magazine. He hosts “The World in Time” interview series for Bloomberg News.)

Muse highlights include Greg Evans on movies and Jeremy Gerard on theater.

To contact the writer on the story: Lewis Lapham in New York at lhl@laphamsquarterly.org.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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