How Going West Changed the Role of the American Woman
I can remember listening to the stories of Sacajawea and Betty Ross in Elementary school. As I sat and imagined a young mother leading a company of men eight thousand miles across the untamed territory, I immediately pictured myself as the indian squaw. I daydreamed of being far away from the restraints of the stuffy, fluorescent lit classroom, free and wild, running with wolves. I was left believing that the Indian girl that journed west was an exception to her gender. Women normally did not behave in such a manner. Betty Ross, however, was the picture of womanly servitude and I found her intolerably dull. She had her place in history, and by all means, her contribution was an honorable one; but no story, true or folklore, can excite the imagination like ones that feature unruly and independant women. Through these stories, I discovered the hardships, success’ and failures that women endured to tame the wild landscape and I have become forever grateful to the American women that found themselves in petticoats, wielding pistols and assuming their role in politics.
During our nation’s infancy hard work was required by both male and female colonists . These men and women worked together to forge a new way of life, far away from the eyes of Mother England. On the farm, women would not only tend to the children and keep up with the household chores; they were responsible for producing all the necessities of day to day life, from soap and candles, to fresh bread and butter. Many women also worked the fields and helped their husbands during harvest. In the submerging urban areas, women worked with their husbands, making shoes, running...
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Less than one hundred years ago we became citizens of the nation that we nursed into greatness. We are still cutting roads to the White House waving signs that read “Equal Work for Equal Pay” just like the ladies at the San Diego Labor Day parade in 1910 (Luchetti and Olwell 38)
During the women’s movement men were quoted saying that women had no place in politics and that we were already properly represented by our husbands and we stand to win nothing by citizenship(Howard and Tarrant 109.) After our voices were heard, child labor and education reforms swept the nation. Women were ostracized from politics for far too long, our empathic concern and gentle nature is essential to making policies concerning social issues,being an outlaw is necessary when the rules are made to be broken. I am a mother, an outlaw, a pioneer, and a brave Indian squaw.
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