During the 1770’s and early 1800’s to 1840’s, the many different beliefs on American motherhood between the American revolution and civil war was the mark of the women’s era and were influences that stimulated the start of “republican motherhood” and “cult of domesticity”. Women during the American revolution played an essential role in staying home managing, cooking, cleaning, and most importantly, raising their sons as patriots while the husbands were are at war. Furthermore, women during the 1820’s began to work in factories, such as the Lowell Mills, and the Seneca Falls Convention, the first ever women's right convention was a milestone.In the beginning, many women reform movements that occurred helped
Education did not form part of the life of women before the Revolutionary War and therefore, considered irrelevant. Women’s education did not extend beyond that of what they learned from their mothers growing up. This was especially true for underprivileged women who had only acquired skills pertaining to domesticity unlike elite white women during that time that in addition to having acquired domestic skills they learned to read a result becoming literate. However, once the Revolutionary War ended women as well as men recognized the great need for women to obtain a greater education. Nonetheless, their views in regards to this subject differed greatly in that while some women including men believed the sole purpose of educating women was in order to better fulfil their roles and duties as wives and mothers others believed the purpose of education for women was for them “to move beyond the household field.” The essays of Benjamin Rush and Judith Sargent Murray provide two different points of view with respects to the necessity for women to be well educated in post-revolutionary America.
As the years dragged on in the new nation the roles of men and women became more distinct and further apart for one another. Women were not allowed to go anywhere in public without an escort, they could not hold a position in office let allow vote, and they could only learn the basics of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic). In law the children belonged to the husband and so did the wife’s property and money. The only job women could think about having was being a ‘governess’ which would give other women education.
Rosen, Ruth. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America. New York: Viking Penguin, 2000. 196.
“Deborah Sampson, the daughter of a poor Massachusetts farmer, disguised herself as a man and in 1782, at age twenty-one, enlisted in the Continental army. Ultimately, her commanding officer discovered her secret but kept it to himself, and she was honorably discharged at the end of the war.” She was one of the few women who fought in the Revolution. This example pictured the figure of women fighting alongside men. This encouraged the expansion of wife’s opportunities. Deborah, after the Revolution along with other known female figures, reinforced the ideology of Republican Motherhood which saw the marriage as a “voluntary union held together by affection and mutual dependency rather than male authority.” (Foner, p. 190). This ideal of “companionate” marriage changed the structure of the whole family itself, the now called Modern Family in which workers, laborers and domestic servants are now not considered member of the family anymore. However even if women thought that after the war they would have been seen from the society in a different way it never happened. The revolution haven’t changed the perception of the woman and the emancipated ideal
National Women’s History Museum, (2007), Women’s Changing Roles as Citizens of a New Republic, retrieved from: http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/education/1700s_2.htm
The American revolution was the colonist’s fight against their mother country for freedom. Most people think of the american revolution as a war that only had an impact on the men. However, women had just as big of responsibilities during the war. In the novel Revolutionary Mothers, Berkin recounts the involvement of women’s experiences on their home fronts and during the war through their involvement in protests and boycotts. Before the revolution took place women had nearly no rights. They were used to stay home and take care of the house and family. Although men were a big part of the revolution, Berkin’s focal point is on the women’s roles during the revolution. She specially fixates on the native americans, native americans, and the lower
In the mid nineteenth century America was going through an age of reform. The person who would be the center of these reforms would be the women in society. Women soon realized that in order to make sure that all the reforms went through they would need more power and influence in society. The oppression and discrimination the women felt in this era launched the women into create the women’s right movement. The women fought so zealously for their rights it would be impossible for them not to achieve their goals. The sacrifices, suffering, and criticism that the women activist made would be so that the future generations would benefit the future generations.
The desire of the Founding Fathers to make America a successful republic played a significant part in changing the many roles that women found themselves in after the Revolution. The role of women as wives became more important as republican ideals established an emphasis on marriage. Society saw marriage as a miniature representation of a republic. Therefore, republican ideals like independence and the freedom from arbitrary power allowed women as wives more value and power within their families. The roles of women as mothers also became more important in the republic, as patriarchy loosened and the nation depended on mothers to educate American children in the republican way. And finally, the role of women in politics was theoretically reduced due to the increasing demands of their domestic roles, but they managed to develop methods to convey their opinions. All three of these roles had setbacks for women in the republic, but there were also significant positive effects. Women became more valued in their domestic roles as wives and partners to their husbands, and their roles as mothers and educators of their children. Also, though politics and state affairs were very exclusive to men, women of the republic managed to find ways to have their voices heard.
In essence, during this time countless women participated in marches, riots, and protesting. The French revolution helped to “enhance women’s place in public political culture by providing opportunities for their participation in number of ways as spectators, protestors, celebrants (official and otherwise), subjects of toasts, and leaders of ceremonies” . Women gather around to have meetings regarding the changes that are needed in the population. Further meetings took place at plays that the democratic and the federalists were control of performances. Women influenced these plays according to Susan Branson “they enjoined women to display their political opinions as audience members who supported the plays and songs favored by one party” . Allowing women to express American cultural productions and the issues they had regarding their rights along with political
Often historical events leading up to the twentieth century are dominated by men and the role of women is seemingly non-existent outside of reproduction. When one thinks of notable and memorable names and events of the Revolution, men are the first to be mentioned. The American Revolution was mainly dominated by men including George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. There is no denying that men were vitally important to the American Revolution, but what were the women doing? Often overlooked, the women of the Revolution played a key role in the outcome of the nation. The women of the American Revolution, although not always recognized, were an influential society that assumed risky jobs like soldiers, as well as involvement
Before the Revolution, women were not allowed a voice in the political world. They almost had no rights, especially if they were married. They were granted fewer opportunities than men. Women were to stay at home care for the household and family. However, that soon began to change. When the Stamp Act was passed in 1765, it required colonist to pay a tax on every piece of printed-paper they used. Women refused to pay for the shipped items from the mother country, “The first political act of American women was to say ‘No’(Berkin 13). As from then, an uprising in issues began to unroll. Women began to seek their voice been heard and act out on problems that were uprising, such as the British Tea. As the war broke out, women’s lives changed even more. While men were in compact, they kept their families alive by managing the farms and businesses, something that they did not do before the war. As the fighting advanced, armies would rummage through towns, destroying homes and seizing food-leaving families with nothing. Women were attacked while their property was being stripped away from them; some women destroyed their own property to keep their family safe. “Women’s efforts to save the family resources were made more difficult by the demands of the military.
Clinton, Catherine. The Other Civil War, American Women in the Nineteenth Century: Hill and Wang, New York 1986