Essay by stoneswithstandHigh School, 11th gradeA, February 2008

download word file, 5 pages 2.0

Since the independence of America from the British, the ideals of American womanhood have been constantly changing. Between the 1770's and the outbreak of the Civil War, women had shifted from a gender of little power to one of great importance. Over the span of the century from 1770 to 1870, the culture of the American society changed economically, socially, and into the adoption of republican motherhood and cult of domesticity. During the time of the Revolutionary War, society regarded women as the teachers of the "sons of liberty" which resulted in a higher status for women; their new importance led to the cult of domesticity in which women began taking more opportunities and a new attitude towards life (True Womanhood). Both "republican motherhood" and "cult of domesticity" would not be achieved without a struggle through the issues of race, class and sex.

In the late 18th century, women were slowly beginning to gain equality as the Revolution and Declaration of Independence spurred a movement of individual rights (Carnes 132).

Because of the Revolutionary War, a majority of the men were drafted and away from home; women assumed the role of "father" and took on most responsibilities around the house (Carnes 133). In a letter from Philadelphia, 1776, a woman wrote of her sacrifice and effort to contribute to the war. Though part of the upper class, she has learned to knit, conserve, and provide for herself and the house without use of British products (Document A). Like many other women during the Revolution, this woman was fully conscious of her effort to contribute to the victory for independence (Carnes 133). At the same time, the approach on education for women changed. Society began to view women as important teachers of the next generation (Carnes 133). Benjamin Rush, a...