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How gender conceptions developed and changed during the period of Jacksonian America - Research Paper Example

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How gender conceptions developed and changed during the period of Jacksonian America

Therefore, any attempt to fully understand the development of America’s societal history must take into account the changes that occurred during these years. This seems especially true when considering the notion of gendered identity of both males and females in the public and private spheres that have determined much of the history of American family, educational, and societal life. Because Jackson’s presidency occurred during a time when the industrial and transportation revolutions were just beginning in the US, and were characterized by expansions and alterations of expectations among the various classes that made up the American social, political, and economic scenes, the ways that men and women came to view their roles in American life during this early birth of modernization are important to review. This brief paper will consider how gendered identities came to be established among men and women during the Jacksonian period, in light of the other social, economic, and religious changes that occurred. ...
When discussing issues of gender, it is important to point out that there are varying definitions and ideas surrounding the term, and that changes have occurred over time regarding what it means. Many people hear the word “gender” and automatically think it signifies simply “male” or “female.” However, the terms “male” and “female” are actually categories of sex, not gender, and refer to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. The word “gender” more appropriately refers to the socially-constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a society considers appropriate for both men and women. Characteristics of gender are based mainly on attributes that are considered either “masculine” or “feminine.” (Rubin 1975). These attributes are greatly influenced by the religious, economic, cultural and political aspects that make up a given society. The ways in which various elements within society function and interact with one another is a key factor in establishing these roles. Due to the fact that gender conception is socially determined, these roles and their interpretations are subject to change. For example, Dorsey (2002) argues that during much of early American history the concept of gender emphasized the differences in societal roles between men and women, and in fact, much evidence exists which suggests that gender conceptions during the time of Jacksonian America were largely focused on the different social roles and duties of both men and women (Welter 1966, Johnson 1880). However, recent interpretive views of gender, argues Dorsey, take into account the influences of economic class, religious ...Show more
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Summary

During the presidential administration of Andrew Jackson, American society experienced a number of political, economic, and ideological upheavals that changed the cultural landscape of the nation permanently. Daniel Walker Howe (2007) argues, for example, that due to territorial expansion, booming industrialization, democratic reconfiguration, and religious revitalization, the nation that came out of the years of Jackson’s presidency was far different than the one that went in…
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