Essay on Domesticity in 19th Century White Middle Class America

Essay on Domesticity in 19th Century White Middle Class America

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Domesticity in 19th Century White Middle Class America


The nineteenth century marked a turning point for women in the United States. As men took work outside of the home women were left to cultivate a place that could serve as a haven from the harsh outside world. This change created a domestic sphere ru
d by women; it paramounted from simple household organization to matters involving moral and religious responsibility, health, education, and social duty. Women found power in their new role; they found equality with their male counterparts without com
ting against them.
The industrial revolution changed the way Americans worked. Men pursued jobs outside of the home. They performed hard labor such as; mining, construction, factory work, and various civil appointments. Most of the day was spent away from the comforts
f a home. This shift transformed the home into a haven from the demands of the outside world. The home set the mood for the dynamics of the family. It served as an influence upon it's members and was a reflection of the harmony that existed between t
m. Women found themselves with the responsibility of making the home into a "glorious temple" (Sklar 151) where her family could thrive.
A home was the symbol which defined a family. The cleanliness, decor and mood that a home displayed told the economic and religious status of a family. Middle class women did not have servants and most did not have any outside help; leaving them to m
age the household alone. This could be and overwhelming task in an era without the technological advancements of today.
The idea of the home having such a profound impact on the family brought about a movement towards housing reform. An abundance of material w...


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...long with their psychological ones. Women went to these spa like places sometimes for months at a time. During their stay they were doused with the healing pow
s of hydopathy in many ways. They were wrapped in wet towels, took steam treatments, and were required to drink gallons of water (Sklar 185). The water cure also served as a place were women could talk freely about thier health problems and educate ea
other.
Domesticity for the white middle class woman during the nineteenth century reform opened many doors for women. The success of moral reform is not as important as it's accomplishment of tapping into the energies of women in the emerging middle class.
men were able to finally articulate heir frustration and aspirations. The achievements of this time was a precedent for other movements and for women's continued activism following generations.

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