WOMEN OF THE REPUBLIC—IN INDUSTRY, THE SLAVE CABIN, AND AT WAR
UNIT III: The Early Republic – Mr. E’s History
The men couldn’t fight this battle alone!
When America’s founding fathers determined to declare their independence from the mother country, they all agreed upon the words Thomas Jefferson penned, that “all men are created equal.” They understood as well that when they spoke of “certain inalienable rights,” that this pertained solely to the male gender, and that equality as they understood it (the right to vote and be elected to office) could only be exercised by men of the propertied class. This new republic would be governed only by educated men who had proven their ability to handle the responsibility of land ownership.
2) Abigail Smith (1744-1818) | Familypedia | Fandom
Abigail Smith Adams, wife of John Adams
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” Her husband simply smiled and shared that another tribe had been heard from.
Under these rules, women of the propertied class accepted the idea that their men would look out for their best interests. In due time, however, they would come to view the situation differently. Certain women living in New Jersey who were widowed and spinsters—yet owning property—were originally allowed to vote in that state, following the revolution. However, an 1807 law was passed which specifically forbade participation of all blacks and females in the election process. The law stated that “female reserve and delicacy are incompatible with the duties of a free elector…” (Moynihan, p 181) Ideas like these spread quickly throughout the states. Although men like Dr. Benjamin Rush, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin agreed that women ought to be educated, in order to teach their children—and that public education in general should be one hallmark of the new republic—they certainly were in lockstep regarding erecting clear boundaries for female participation in politics.
Online Exhibits | National Women’s History Museum
3) From abolitionists to suffragists: Lucretia Mott is at the top of the oval. Just to her right, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These two women tired of this relegation to domesticity. They organized and held the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, at Seneca Falls, New York. In 1851, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony (in the 8:00 position, clockwise), and they became lifelong friends in the fight for women’s rights–over 50 years of working together.
Meanwhile, the growing industry of the United States, as well as the territory gained by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, meant that more opportunities were opened to the working classes (whether laboring in agricultural or industry). Home industries, factory life, and the western frontier changed life dramatically for thousands of Americans. Women of European origin came face-to-face with Native American men and women. Women in the South, living on large plantations, miles from the nearest family member or town, worked closely with their female slaves. However, the most unfortunate aspect of life for slave women was the fact that—within the plantation household—they also lived dangerously close to the plantation master. These slave women were the most unfortunate, preyed upon and controlled females living in Post Revolutionary and Antebellum America.
Read Chapter 4 of the textbook. Then visit the following websites to read about:
The “Cult of Domesticity”: http://americainclass.org/the-cult-of-domesticity/ (Links to an external site.)
The book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/i/incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl/about-incidents-in-the-life-of-a-slave-girl (Links to an external site.)
Harriet Tubman (2 sites): https://www.biography.com/activist/harriet-tubman (Links to an external site.)
(Links to an external site.)DOCDOCUMENT: THE PLANTATION MISTRESS (found under “Pages”), by S.C. Burns
YOU MUST READ THESE ARTICLES, IN ORDER TO ANSWER QUESTION #2. Go to the Pages tab in the Course Menu and read the summary of Catherine Clinton’s The Plantation Mistress, as well as “Degrees of Servitude and Solitude,” which provides great detail about the relationship between the plantation mistress and her female slaves.
Finally: Answer the following questions: 225 words each
1) Consider the lives and attitudes of women working in northern factories (no factories in the South in the Early Republic). Find evidence of why they were proud to be earning wages, and evidence of discontent as well. Next, consider Dr. William Sanger’s idea that women were not responsible for their entry into prostitution. What economic conditions entered into this scenario? YOU MUST PROVE YOU UNDERSTAND DR. SANGER’S STUDY AND CONCLUSION.
2) In your second paragraph, compare the roles of the plantation mistresses and their female slaves. REMEMBER, the plantation mistress was the wife of the plantation master–not today’s idea of a “mistress.” Do you believe the plantation mistress had the power to make life more pleasant for her slaves? THIS IS NOT BASED ON YOUR OPINION. YOU MUST USE EVIDENCE, ESPECIALLY FROM THE ARTICLES AND DOCUMENT ABOVE.
You may write your response in a Word program, then copy and paste it into the discussion board. Otherwise, type into the textbox following the discussion questions. To do so, please click on the first “Reply” tab following the discussion questions. After you have posted your original responses, you will then be able to see classmates’ posts. You need to read and respond to at least two of these posts. Your responses to two classmates are due by the following day, at Midnight. When you respond to classmates, be sure to prove you have read their post, by commenting on particular portions of their post. Remember to always be polite and positive.