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Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality

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Presentation on theme: "Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality
Antebellum Reform Movements Social Reform Movements from the 1820s to the 1850s Social Reforms & Redefining the Ideal of Equality Women’s Rights Temperance Abolitionism

2 Republican Motherhood
The concept related to women's roles as mothers in the emerging United States before and after the American Revolution (c to 1800). It centered around the belief that children should be raised to uphold the ideals of republicanism, making them the perfect citizens of the new nation. Painting The Artist and His Family by James Peale (1795)

3 Roles & Experctations of Women in Early 19th Century America
What were women’s traditional roles? What were women were expected to do?

4 Early 19th century Women Unable to vote. Legal status of a minor.
Single  could own her own property. Married  no control over her property or her children. Could not initiate divorce. Couldn’t make wills, sign a contract, or bring suit in court without her husband’s permission.

5 Social Reform  Prostitution The “Fallen Woman”
Sarah Ingraham ( ) 1835  Advocate of Moral Reform Female Moral Reform Society focused on the “Johns” & pimps, not the girls. R2-1

6 “The Cult of Domesticity”
“Separate Spheres” Concept “The Cult of Domesticity” A woman’s “sphere” was in the home (it was a refuge from the cruel world outside). Her role was to “civilize” & educate her husband and family. An 1830s MA minister: The power of woman is her dependence. A woman who gives up that dependence on man to become a reformer yields the power God has given her for her protection, and her character becomes unnatural!

7 Cult of Domesticity = Slavery
The 2nd Great Awakening inspired women to improve society. Lucy Stone Angelina Grimké Sarah Grimké American Women’s Suffrage Assoc. edited Woman’s Journal Southern Abolitionists

8 Cult of Domesticity Between 1820 and the Civil War, the growth of new industries, businesses, and professions helped to create in America a new middle class. (The Middle class consisted of families whose husbands worked as lawyers, office workers, factory managers, merchants, teachers, physicians and others.)

9 Cult of Domesticity Although the new middle-class family had its roots in preindustrial society, it differed from the preindustrial family in three major ways: I) A nineteenth-century middle-class family did not have to make what it needed in order to survive. Men could work in jobs that produced goods or services while their wives and children stayed at home. 2) When husbands went off to work, they helped create the view that men alone should support the family. This belief held that the world of work, the public sphere, was a rough world, where a man did what he had to in order to succeed, that it was full of temptations, violence, and trouble. A woman who ventured out into such a world could easily fall prey to it, for women were weak and delicate creatures. A woman's place was therefore in the private sphere, in the home, where she took charge of all that went on. 3) The middle-class family came to look at itself, and at the nuclear family in general, as the backbone of society. Kin and community remained important, but not nearly so much as they had once been.

10 Charles Dana Gibson, No Time for Politics, 1910
Cult of Domesticity A new ideal of womanhood and a new ideology about the home arose out of the new attitudes about work and family. Called the "cult of domesticity," it is found in women's magazines, advice books, religious journals, newspapers, fiction--everywhere in popular culture. This new ideal provided a new view of women's duty and role while cataloging the cardinal virtues of true womanhood for a new age. Charles Dana Gibson, No Time for Politics, 1910

11 Cult of Domesticity This ideal of womanhood had essentially four parts--four characteristics any good and proper young woman should cultivate: Piety Purity Domesticity Submissiveness

12 Cult of Domesticity Piety: Nineteenth-century Americans believed that women had a particular propensity for religion. The modern young woman of the 1820s and 1830s was thought of as a new Eve working with God to bring the world out of sin through her suffering, through her pure, and passionless love. Purity: Female purity was also highly revered. Without sexual purity, a woman was no woman, but rather a lower form of being, a "fallen woman," unworthy of the love of her sex and unfit for their company.

13 Cult of Domesticity Domesticity: Woman's place was in the home. Woman's role was to be busy at those morally uplifting tasks aimed at maintaining and fulfilling her piety and purity. Submissiveness: This was perhaps the most feminine of virtues. Men were supposed to be religious, although not generally. Men were supposed to be pure, although one could really not expect it. But men never supposed to be submissive. Men were to be movers, and doers--the actors in life. Women were to be passive bystanders, submitting to fate, to duty, to God, and to men.

14 Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Women’s Rights Movement 1840  split in the abolitionist movement over women’s role in it. London  World Anti-Slavery Convention Lucretia Mott Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1848  Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments

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