As scholars in the twenty-first century, we’ve defined the “modern” era, in part, in terms of the increasing value placed upon the individual. Yet, “modernity” also encompasses the growing tensions between the individual and his or her community. The contemporary paradox, therefore, is how social modernization shifts from a linear progression from a hierarchal communal identity, to a level playing field of vibrant individualism and equality. How do we fortify strong communities without establishing unequal hierarchies? How can we, in the technological age, advocate individual pursuits while reinforcing communal bonds? In addition to Abigail Adams, in her personal correspondence, historians and writers Bernard Bailyn (The Peopling of British North America), Antonine-Nicholas de Condorcet (Sketch for an Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind), Natalie Zemon Davis (The Return of Martin Guerre), Mary Beth Norton (Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women), Ishmael Reed (Dualism: In Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”), and Gordon Wood (The Radicalism of the American Revolution), tackle this modern dilemma, discovering that, although community, individuality, and equality initially conflict, these themes are reconcilable, their discrepancies central to truly understanding modernity.
Strom, Rebekka A.
"Remember the Ladies: Individuality, Community, and Equality of Early and Modern Women,"
Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 2
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/ojur/vol2/iss1/6