April 7, 2012
Women’s Rights Movement
Over the course of the last 200 years women’s roles have undergone a number of political and social transitions. From having little to no “control over their own lives” (Applebee) to gaining equality in the political and social arenas, the historical study of women in the United States is one without comparison.
In the early to mid 1800’s women played a minimal role in life. They had little education; after marriage they were to stay at home and only do housework. They could not vote, be a part of the jury, had little education, and no employment. In 1836, the first women abolitionists appeared: Sarah and Angelina Emily Grimké. Angelina wrote An Appeal to Christian Women of the South. This called upon women to overthrow this horrible system of oppression and cruelty. Very few men supported their movement.
The next movement was the Temperance Movement. This movement was the effort to prohibit the drinking of alcohol. In the 19th century; alcohol was used for everything but very few people saw drunkenness as a problem; yet, those behind the temperance movement did. “They held rallies, produced pamphlets, and brought about a decline in consumption of alcohol that would continue into the 1860s” (Bowes).
Girls had few education opportunities; it was said “if women knew chemistry enough to have ‘the water boil in a pot’ was enough for women” (Bowes). The first women’s school was opened in 1821. In 1837 higher education was offered for women. African American women were forced out of schools and some schools were shut down if they provided education for black women. Towards the mid 19th century, educated women began health reforms. Research found that for every four women three were ill and one was healthy. The tight, multi-layered clothing and hot weather made it unhealthy for women. It was recommended that the women wear looser clothing; men were outraged and repulsed when women began to...