Essay about Inequality in American Society from 1815 to 1860

Essay about Inequality in American Society from 1815 to 1860

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One of the greatest barriers between women and equality during the antebellum era was the doctrine of separate spheres. The doctrine coined two distinctive spheres: the one of men and that of women. Men, physically and mentally stronger, were considered to be suitable for the world politics, work and war. Women, on the other hand, with the nature of being soft and delicate, were linked to domestic tasks such as cooking, cleaning and motherhood. Prior to the Antebellum period, as most American families led a harsh and tough farm life where field work and domestic chores were closely related, the distinction between the two spheres were marginal and women were also considered to be just as vigorous and resilient as men. However, as the nation entered the antebellum period and farm life was gradually replaced by city life, this perception changed dramatically. The notion of women being weak and fragile became more and more popular. They were kept in home, away from all the “filth and evil” of the city, and along with it their property, voting and other rights.
Before her marriage, a woman was allowed to own properties, run businesses, enter contracts, file lawsuits, be charged with crimes and keep her own earnings. However, once married, all of her prior rights became invalid as her legal identity merged with her husband’s. The husband would have control over all properties she had owned before and any she would gain afterwards. The only way for women to keep their property ownership intact was to stay single. However, to maintain such status was nearly impossible. In the early 19th century, almost all jobs and professions excluded women-employment. This left women who wished to stay single with only their personal and familiar weal...

... middle of paper ...>.
History. "Underground Railroad." History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. .
McDaid, Jennifer. "Women's Struggle for Equality: The First Phase, 1828-1876." H-Net. N.p., June 1998. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. .
PBS. "Conditions of Antebellum Slavery." PBS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .
PBS. "Eric Foner on the Fugitive Slave Act." PBS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .
Perez, Marjory Allen. "Early African American and Anti-Slavery Newspapers: Sources for African American Genealogy Research." Archives. N.p., 2 June 2009. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. .

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