The Young Ladies Literary Society reflected mid-nineteenth century Enlightenment beliefs about mankind's ability to improve the world and the human condition. The newly formed United States and its republican citizens were expected to take the lead in ushering in this new era of knowledge and freedom. A group of young women in Deerfield exemplified the optimistic spirit of the age when they formed the Young Ladies Literary Society in 1813. They declared in the preamble to their constitution that "Science and literature are the greatest promotives of human happiness." Try to answer the questions these women debated and see how times have changed...or not!