Q&A: Cassandra Good, Author of Founding Friendships

CGood photoIn April, Tom Cutterham reviewed Cassandra Good’s new book, Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Women and Men in the Early American Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Good received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is now the Associate Editor of the Papers of James Monroe at the University of Mary Washington. Today, she speaks with The Junto about Founding Friendships and her next project.
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“Your Most Affectionate Friend…”

Founding Friendships

Even as nineteenth-century biographers sought to ignore or suppress it, there’s rarely been much shortage of gossip about the sex lives of the Founding Fathers. Cassandra Good’s new book, Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic (OUP, 2015), offers a warning to readers of eighteenth-century relationships who can be all too ready to embrace the temptations of scandal—these letters might sometimes look like thin veils for a seething sexuality beneath, “but a careful consideration of how people expressed emotion and an openness to the notion that men and women could be friends offers new, more nuanced readings,” Good argues. Scandalizing male-female relationships only serves to place them beyond the purview of ordinary life. Founding Friendships reminds us that women’s presence in the world shouldn’t come as a surprise, and that their roles were never limited to wives, mothers, and sex-objects. Continue reading