"If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience"1.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson. American author, poet and philosopher. 1803-1881
History relies on the biography and personal accounts of average people in order to be relevant. It is essentially the stories of people who lived in the past. Although generally history is said to be the propaganda of its victors, this is not always precisely true. History is biased, no matter how hard one tries to not be because it is t the account of what has happened from someone's personal perspective. Personal letters preserved from the time they were written are very valuable to historians. Letters are not usually colored by politics or personal agendas, but are as close to a real account of what happened as a historian will get. They give important and precious insight into the issues and attitudes prevalent during the time period.
After reading the immigrant letters written by John and Sarah Leeming during their trip across the Atlantic from Liverpool England to Quebec, Canada, a clearer view of the reality of their lives emerged to me. My thesis is even despite relative affluence, women in the nineteenth century made larger sacrifices in immigrating to Canada then their male counterparts. It is no surprise that women would forgo their own comfort in order to please their husbands and to better their families as patriarchy was extremely advocated during the nineteenth century, more than today. A woman's main focus was her family and her home life, as most women were not permitted to work in the public sphere during this time. The letters written by Sarah and John Leeming give an insight to some of the sacrifices women made during trips from Europe to the New...