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Summary Lecture explores four different types of PUBLIC ACTIVITY that women engaged in during the antebellum period: Benevolence Moral Reform Antislavery.

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Presentation on theme: "Summary Lecture explores four different types of PUBLIC ACTIVITY that women engaged in during the antebellum period: Benevolence Moral Reform Antislavery."— Presentation transcript:


2 Summary Lecture explores four different types of PUBLIC ACTIVITY that women engaged in during the antebellum period: Benevolence Moral Reform Antislavery Womens Rights Womans Sphere and civic engagement

3 Benevolence Womens societies created for pious purposes Response to urbanization/industrialization & the problems they brought: poverty, crime, illness Philadelphia 1840

4 Benevolence Foundation for womens public activity Charitable & humanitarian ends Clerical approval Bible societies, missionary societies, maternal societies, Sunday-school associations (to impart spiritual values to the children of the poor) Catherine Beecher

5 Benevolence Limited to North Urbanization Proximity to other women Clientelethe poor and impious needed their help Second Great Awakening Religious upheaval Belief in the need to improve the world Womens piety made them the perfect volunteers for this job Charles Finney

6 Benevolence Benefits of Benevolence: Skills: organizational, literary, financial Providence Employment Society, 1830s: Run by wealthy women from prominent families to help poor seamstresses; created a small garment society that became a model employer and offered good wages Access to the public activities : Almshouses, asylums, hospitals, jails Gender Consciousness : Spurred empathy for female victims (widows, abandoned, prostitutes) & disdain for their oppressors Limitation of Benevolence Did not challenge the womans sphere Almshouse

7 Benevolence S ARAH H ALE Early Life Lost mother, sister, brother Widowed with five children after 9 years of happy marriage Opened millinery business with sister- in-law that failed Turned to writing Sarah Hale

8 Godeys Ladies Book Moral and spiritual exemplar devoted to female improvement Womans sphere is celebrated Major focus on female education Benevolence

9 Godeys Ladys Book Exalts female influence and sacrifice Organizations Seamans Aid Society: helped abandoned wives, widows, children Created boarding house, clothing store and workshop, infant school, free library Opposes womans rights Opposes fashion Benevolence Fashion plate from Godeys Ladys Book

10 Moral Reform Aggressive benevolence Abate social ills Change mens behavior Double standard Impose a single pure moral standard on everyone A very guilty Richard Robinson sneaks away from the freshly murdered--and quite modest, it appears--Helen Jewett. A rendition by an artist without a taste for the racy. Changing masculinity Fears about out-of-control young men moving to cities to work as clerks

11 Moral Reform Domestic agenda Raising children with piety and moral education Public agenda All female staff Protest in front of brothels (singing hymns and shaming) Petition state legislatures to make seduction a crime Successful in MA 1846, NY 1848


13 Abolition Elizabeth Chandler Quaker Writer Justification for female involvement Moral superiority Sisterhood Break up of slave family Sexual abuse Elizabeth Margaret Chandler

14 Female Antislavery Societies Over 100 groups by 1838 Boston Society, 1832 Maria Weston Chapman & her sisters Mostly middle- & upper class white women Petitioning & Fund-raising Maria Weston Chapman

15 Philadelphia, 1833, integrated Fortens: Charlotte, Margaretta, Harriett, Sarah, Role of Black women Pragmatic goals: Vigilance Committee, Education Racism, Fall River, 1835 Female Antislavery Societies Charlotte Forten (1837-1914). Taught freed slaves and wrote Life on Sea Islands

16 Female Antislavery Societies National Female Anti-Slavery Society Meetings, 1837-1839, and the burning of Philadelphia Hall (1838)

17 Fund- Raising Funds for literature and lecturers Antislavery Fairs 1834 first fair, Lydia Maria Child, $200 Maria Weston Chapman Wealth, educated, international connections Elegant expensive goods Holiday event Thousands of $ Frederick Douglass

18 Literature Literacy Increase in women authors/readers Lydia Maria Child Popular writer: The Frugal Housewife An Appeal,1833 Loses popularity Edits antislavery newspaper Lydia Maria Child

19 Literature Harriet Jacobs Slave autobiography Gave voice to slaves Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Sexual abuse of slave women Harriet Jacobs, 1813-1897

20 Petitioning Importance Immediate results: a signature Measurement of success Grassroots support network Topics of Petitions Opposing annexation of Texas Supporting abolition in DC 1838: 70% of signatures are women

21 Petitioning Gag Rule 1837 House of Reps automatically tabled all antislavery petitions One of the few political activities open to women Meaning of petitioning Required knowledge Self-confidence Influenced womans right

22 Lecturing Controversial & difficult Unpleasant: mob attacks, egg showers, verbal attacks, bad weather, poor accommodations Threatened gender norms Maria Stewart Wealth Boston widow first woman to lecture to mixed audiences, 1831-32

23 Lecturing Grimke Sisters, South Carolina sisters

24 Lecturing Letter to Garrison, 1834 36 Agents of NYASS Spoke to women Promiscuous Pastoral letter Beecher letter Letters on the equality of the sexes, 1838, Sarah

25 Lecturing Abby Kelley Lectured for over 20 years long unrelieved moral torture Opened up the West to Garrisonians Lectured alone Persecuted Satan Abby Kelley, 1811-1887

26 Abolition & Womans Rights Leadership Role models Widened the womans rights network Paved the way for future feminist lecturers Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906 at the age of 30

27 Womans Rights Challenged womans sphere Male-dominated professions Obstacles Training Licensing Gender assumptions: Women are delicate Jane Swisshelm quote Jane Swisshelm

28 Womans Rights Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) Womans Sphere She focused on women as nurturers Medical School Rejection Geneva Graduation 1849 Rejection Shunned Dispensary in NY Elizabeth Blackwell

29 Womans Rights Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921) Womans Sphere: Women had a moral nature Seminary Oberlin: But no degree Rejection Lyceum speaker Ordination South Butler, NY, 1853 Antoinette Brown Blackwell

30 Womans Rights Seneca Falls, 1848 Roots in Abolition Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, 1840 Women rejected as delegates and had to sit in the balcony Lucretia Mott

31 Womans Rights Declaration of Independence We hold these truths to be self evidence: that all men and women are created equal... Issues : Addressed womens exclusion from: Higher education Professions Pulpit Profitable employment Frederick Douglass supports womans suffrage resolution

32 Womans Rights What Seneca Falls ignored: Black women Segregation? Interracial mvmt? Working-class women Lowell Mills Wages, hours, conditions Domestic duties Reproductive control Elizabeth Cady Stanton

33 Womans Rights Frances Wright, 1795-1852 Background Raised by aunt in England, early travel writer Befriends Marquis de Lafayette, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson Nashoba Utopian society to free slaves Forbids marriage, private property, religion Bad overseeing, malaria, poor land, resistance: freed slaves Frances Wright

34 Womans Rights Public Lecturing, 1820s Mixed audiences Sexual emancipation Critiqued clergy Womans Rights Castigated Monster Quiet ending Married in Paris, left husband and daughter and moved to Cincinnati

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