Womens Rights DBQ

Essay by y7iopopHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2014

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In the century between 1776 and 1876 lies a key change for women in America. Beforehand women were not considered to be very important in society; the only real role they had was to raise the children, cook and clean. Eventually though the nation practically doubled in not only geographical boundaries, but population as well. When the Market Revolution hit America many people felt isolated and cut off from society. In order to regain some sense of comfort, people created societies of reform, this was especially evident in the female sector of society. They felt very inspired considering the Second Great Awakening had just occurred. In doing so, the control of the nation's future slowly returned to the citizens and women were going to gain rights and privileges they did not have before. Lives of Northern middle-class women changed quite substantially in the century between 1776 and 1876; the progress is evident in women's social standing and expectation.

In 1776 social expectations of women were to maintain the household and children. Women were considered to be property, first of her father then her husband. This is partially addressed by William Blackstone in Document A, "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage". In this Blackstone is saying that there is no separate existence of the woman from the man while married. It is also said that no legal action can be brought up to or by the woman without her husband's approval first. The woman in the marriage really had nothing going for her. For instance, if her husband was being abusive she couldn't do anything about it but leave and all she would have were the clothes on her back. She wouldn't have been able to take her children or possessions with her.