The Bond Of Womanhood And The Bonds Of True Womanhood

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Throughout American history women have been considered the inferior sex, and have endured the discrimination brought upon them by men. In the time period of 1780 to 1835 the United States underwent extensive societal and economical changes that resulted in a shift in the role of women, leading to the “cult of true womanhood.” Although the new “cult” restricted women to the virtues of piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity it also led to a rise in the influence of women on the developments of society. In “Bonds of Womanhood,” Nancy Cott focuses on the time period of 1780 to 1835 to effectively illustrates how the changes leading up to the “cult of true womanhood” restrained women together through the creation of a separate “women’s sphere,” while also restricting women to the ideologies that became prominent with “true womanhood.” Although I agree with Nancy Cott’s argument, it would have been more effective if she had included politics as one of the main aspects of her argument.
The “Bonds of Womanhood,” emphasizes the historical transformations that occurred prior to the Victorian period, for they resulted in vast changes to the role of women in the United States. The transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy led to the mass production of goods, among them textiles; with the invention of power looms in 1814 young women were often hired outside of their households to make textiles, thus increasing their independence. However, along with industrialization came many societal changes that affected women. Since working conditions in factories were atrocious, home became a means of escape that pressured wives to create a pleasant home environment for their husbands. This ideology contributed to the margina...

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...the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft book Vindication of the Rights of Women: With strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, which is partly based on political inequality, and thus demonstrates how the “consciousness” of unequal political rights in the American Constitution was the driving force for Feminism. Therefore, with a focus on the influence of politics on women’s lives in the Post-Revolutionary era Cott would have been able to further support her argument by providing a more thorough explanation for the resulting origin of Feminism from “group consciousness.”
Despite the fact that Nancy Cott’s sources provide an interesting insight to the effects of the “Woman’s Sphere” on the lives of Middle Class white women of New England, her assumption that this, “conception created constraints or opportunities for all women,” creates a substantial generalization.
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