Equality in America

Topics: W. E. B. Du Bois, African American, Women's suffrage Pages: 10 (3957 words) Published: February 26, 2007

In the middle to late 1800s, diversity swept across the United States of America. What is diversity? Diversity implies a wide variety in gender, race, culture, ethnicity, age, and other characteristics of certain groups ("Diversity," 2006). Diversity is present in every possible aspect of life. It does not matter where one goes or what one does in America, no two people look or act exactly the same. America has been and still is known as a nation of freedom and diversity. Today, America is considered to be the "melting pot," a place where all cultures are supposedly accepted and come together as a whole. Diversity is an issue that Americans have dealt with in the past, are currently dealing with, and will deal with in the future. Simply because America is tolerant of such a wide variety of people, does that mean that all people living in America are treated equally? The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal (The National, 2006);however, certain groups do not find this to be accurate. For generations, women, African Americans, and Mexican Americans have not been equal and have struggled to keep up in an "equal" society; however, as time progresses, these groups are making an immense advancement.

Before and as well as during the nineteenth century, women were severely inferior to men. According to most males, women were spoken to and not heard. Women were supposed to be homemakers and baby-makers. Men were the ones educated and given the role of financial provider for the family. The women had jobs too: cooking food, washing clothes, and cleaning their homes. Education was merely not an item of importance for women. Women felt that they did need not need to think differently, and many did not even question the way of the world until the middle of the 1800s. It was then that feminism actually became an organized movement. Feminism is defined as "the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" ("Feminism," 2006). Feminism was created in hopes of putting to rest the pre-historic notions that most had concerning women and their duties. The creation of feminism did lead many to see that women were indeed equal to men and could do more than simply take care of the home. Even though the idea for equality between women and men in America was a gradual process that took a while for many to digest, most women were headstrong and determined to prove themselves. Two of the most influential women who contributed to feminism in the middle 1800s and changed the way for women in today's society were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (Hymowitz & Weissman, 1978). At an early age, Elizabeth Cady Stanton understood that most thought women were inferior to men. In fact, she witnessed the idea first hand after her older brother passed away and her father, Judge Daniel Cady, repeatedly told her that it was a shame she was not born a boy. Furthermore, no matter how successful Stanton became, she was never good enough for her father. She studied at the Johnstown Academy where she received excellent grades and was an asset to the debate team. Stanton was passionate about everything she did and always gave one hundred percent. After high school, she attended Troy Female Seminary in New York City, New York. By attending this school, she was allowed the same opportunities as males because she was able to study the same subjects such as logics, physiology, and natural rights philosophy. This was a rare opportunity during this period of time. Once again, Stanton excelled at all of her classes; however, she still received the same negative words from her father. To show her hurt for not living up to her father's standards, Stanton stated, I cannot tell you how deep the iron entered my soul. I never felt more keenly the degradation of my sex. To think that all in me of which my father would have felt proper pride had I been a man is deeply...

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