Margaret Nash's groundbreaking Women's Education in the United States, 1780-1840 examines education from the early national period through the formation of the institutions that are widely recognized as the forerunners of the women's college movement. Nash argues that in this period education was not as strongly gendered as other historians have posited. The rising rhetoric of human rights, Enlightenment thought, and evangelical Christianity, in an age of dynamic economic change, helped build a broad ideological base for the spread of female education. Education was key to the project of class formation, and Nash contends that class and race were more salient than gender in the construction of educational institutions. Women's Education in the United States, 1780-1840 is an essential text for all courses in the field of education and will change the way we all think about the history of higher learning.