Throughout most of our history women traditionally have had fewer rights than men. The early colonists operated under English common law which restricted rights while giving women additional duties in the house hold. The common law was predominately used regardless of ones own religious preference. With the westward expansion through the Revolution of America came the changing roles of women in the household and workplace throughout early America. During the nineteenth century, the women’s rights movement was vastly significant because it led to suffrage and increased opportunities for women in the workforce.
Women’s roles during the colonial time of the 1700’s were extremely challenging. Women in the household were expected to make clothing for use and retail, doctor and care for their family, clean and tend to livestock. During the early eighteenth century women were dominated by men from brothers and father’s to their husband after marriage. Marriage for women was highly encouraged by society and those who did not conform were ridiculed and shamed by the community. Men obtained full responsibility for their wife’s actions along with complete control of everything women possessed, including rights to her body. Women were long regarded as inferior to men both physically and mentally. Men and women had a great deal of pressure on them to marry and often time’s young girls got married in their teenage years. People married for financial and economic security and seldom for physical attraction. Women who did not marry by there mid twenties were socially humiliated. Those who did were denied access to inheritance, earnings, and property. Once women married they became property of their husbands. Eleanor Flexner writes “Marri...
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...versity Press. P.8
2. Stevenson, Janet. Women’s Rights. New York: Franklin Watts, INC, 1972. p.3
3. Janet, Women’s Rights, 54.
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