. . . at the Republican Party booth at the Marin County Fair.
Amongst the stickers there’s an interesting feminist slogan! The backstory is quite interesting:
At the beginning of her career as a historian of early America, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich published an article entitled "Virtuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735." Could anything sound more narrowly academic than that -- a scholarly examination of a small subset of Puritan funeral sermons? But Ulrich's paper was destined to have a long history. It opened this way:
"Cotton Mather called them 'the hidden ones.' They never preached or sat in a deacon's bench. Nor did they vote or attend Harvard. Neither, because they were virtuous women, did they question God or the magistrates. They prayed secretly, read the Bible through at least once a year, and went to hear the minister preach even when it snowed. Hoping for an eternal crown, they never asked to be remembered on earth. And they haven't been. Well-behaved women seldom make history."
Since 1976, when that paragraph was printed in American Quarterly, Ulrich's final ringing sentence has appeared -- sometimes with the word "rarely" replacing "seldom" -- on T-shirts, coffee mugs and buttons. It has gradually grown into one of the best-known slogans of modern feminism.
Photo: Republican Bumper Stickers—Marin County, 2009