Women after the American Revolution

1957 Words4 Pages

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 the ideal republic, all of its citizens were virtuous and aiming for the common good. This was the conclusion reached by the Founding Fathers after interpreting the failures of ancient Greek/Roman republics and modern European republics. If the citizens were not virtuous, internal strife, factionalism, and corruption would cause the republic to collapse. Of course, “citizens” only referred to men. That being said, with most virtuous men came a wife and a family. As written ... ... middle of paper ... ...ip between a man and his wife as opposed to patriarchal domination was considered the republican model. In the role of a mother, the republican woman was not as able to pursue involvement in the economy and her family’s income due to the increased duties of motherhood. Nonetheless, society recognized that the characteristics of women were ideal when caring for and educating children to become virtuous citizens, and so women were assigned responsibilities that had primarily been the father’s. And finally, politics excluded women because republican ideals deemed them unfit to make useful contributions, and they would be seen as less feminine and forgoing their rights as a woman if they tried to participate. Even so, many women believed that they could engage in state affairs and found methods such as satirical literature and petitions to discreetly express their views.

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