First published when women's history was a newly emergent field, Root of Bitterness has achieved the status of a classic in a burgeoning body of literature. Taking three centuries of American women's experience as its province, the volume extends from the unknown voices of slaves and indentured servants to the writings of such well-known women as Jane Addams. Through a varied collection of documents including diaries, letters, court transcripts, and manifestos, Nancy F. Cott offers the reader glimpses of women's consciousness from the seventeenth century, when women's challenges to social order were interpreted as witchcraft, to the early twentieth century, when the New Woman confronted Victorian ideas of femininity. Root of Bitterness is a significant contribution to American social history. -- Back cover.