It is more than clear that women in the 1840's and 1850's were in a class of their own. This class was not only determined by gender but by wealth, poverty, slavery and the middle class. All women were expected to be obedient, subservient and were seen but not heard. Their primary roles were of a domestic nature and for child rearing. Those of the wealthier class were allowed house slaves to keep their homes and plantations in order, raise their children and cook in the kitchens.
Southern women carried the burdens of promiscuity among their husbands and slaves. Not much could be said or done to change the situation. It wasn't like the menof the south did not respect their wives for the women of the upper class were treated otherwise well and were considered representation of a good southern man.
Women in the north were a tad bit more independent and much more involved the politics of children raring, the condition of the state and domesticity. This is not to say that women of the north were not subject to t he whiles and whims of their husbands. Northern women suffered through some of the same atrocities of subordinate roles and low work standards.
Slavery for the Black woman free or not was a common event even in the north. The Black women had to work in substandard conditions or for substandard pay to keep their families sheltered and fed. In their world they often worked more than one job as servants, cooks, house attendants, maids and the like. Their husbands often experienced difficulties finding work therefore putting the working black relationships, marriages and household in jeopardy. All of this being said it was still far better to a black woman in the north than it was to one in the south.
Today, women in general have far more control over their lives and situations as did the predecessors. However much still could done. Women still fight for equality on their jobs for equal...