Book Review: A History of Women in America
From the beginning of time, women have subtly shaped the history of the human race. Just by operating under social normality or defying it, a woman can cause a movement. In Carol Hymowitz and Michaele Weissman’s book, A History of Women in America, they focus on the more modern changes women have had on history rather than focusing more on the impact women had on the foundation of the United States.
While men carried out much of the remembered history of the founding of the United States, women were behind them. In fact, women were the reason that the British colony even lasted, unlike the first attempts such as Roanoke. At the time women were viewed as the weaker sex, this gave the men a reason to build a permanent, safe place to sleep and live. Both authors said, “In a totally undeveloped and sparsely populated land, the labor of ever able-bodied settler was desperately needed, and a women’s traditional work –providing food, clothing, shelter, and the rudiments of hygiene – was essential to survival” (2), because at the time men did not learn such things and like with Roanoke they would have failed without women. While the environment remained harsh, women and men worked together to stabilize the world around them. From those hostile homes turned to calm cottages and as their home environment became more stable women received freedoms that some women of the suffrage would envy, but once it came to law and politics women were once again merely the property of their husbands and less than a person under law. Later in colonial period, the depressing duties of housewifery varied from region to region creating identity among the regions. “The wives of southern planters rarely did their own weaving and spinning, while in the northern colonies these tasks took up many hours of a woman” (4) shows some of the diversity and women in the southern colonies took up herbal remedies and nursing, but the basics of each...
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