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Catherine Beecher Essay

Essay Topic:

Until the 1830's, the women's role in society was not what it should have been. Men still ran the household with complete power over the family. Men owned every personal property of the family including their wives' personal property, their personal property, and anything obtained or produced by any other family member. Even the right to choose one's husband was still held by the father. Overall, housework and marriage life was the central existence for women. Not until 1835, when Arkansas passed thefirst married women's property laws, did the idea of a women living on their own terms come about. By 1860 a total of 17 states had passed such laws setting the basis for a women's time to shine. These laws said that a woman, married, single, or widowed, could hold personal property, inherit property, and write a will as well. Even divorce laws were coming to age, but divorce was still seen as an uncommon thing. As the industrial society grew, the man of the house held jobs outside of the home and women stepped to the front of the family.
In Beecher's document she explains that women should take part in, and understand, the Democratic institutions of the nation. She says it is no longer time for women to stand in the background, but it is time for women to hold a place in their Democratic society, and they did. Poor, widowed, and free-black women made up the chunk of workers trying to support themselves, but they made such lousy wages they were stuck in the life of poverty. Some women left their homes at the extremely young age of 12 to work and support themselves. The jobs these women usually held were domestic. They did as they would in their own household, but sold those services to others in need of it at their home. For the rest of the women remaining in their household raising their children was their full-time job now. Since the country was more urban in this time, the work of farming was los…

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