Women, considered as dependent, played only a limited role in the 238 joumal of social history fall 2004
colonization movement. In turn, the political position of women abolitionists became more radical. They opposed colonization and demanded equality among the taces. Most importantly, they presented "slavery as a prohlem that affected the domestic realm that women could claim as their own, thus making antislavery activism an expression of a woman's familial concerns and influence". By doing so, women claimed the private sphere as a site of public politics.
Attitudes were harshly defined, but the roles performed were based on the practicality of performing them. For example, women were forced to remain at home because their husbands were expected to go out into the world, and someone had to manage the house and care for the children. If attitudes had allowed women to work outside the home, their roles may have been different, but they would still have been based on the practicality of their actions.
The importance of domesticity incited a great debate over the issue of female education. For the most part, it was decided that females should receive some education, but many disagreed about the subjects to be included. Many believed a "finished" education took away from the practical knowledge required for housewives. Men feared that an emphasis on academics would take away from her domesticity and the home life would suffer. Many believed that the natural order of things was with women cooking and performing other household tasks. Fearing the possible upset of this order, men created a defense mechanism to keep women from venturing from the domestic sphere. They became openly hostile agaist women's education. Hostility toward women's education was thwarted by convincing men that an educated wife could only be an asset to him. Marriage could be jeapodized by a wife who could not keep house.13 One who had been properly trained, would not keep her...
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