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What are the legal and the social standing of women in the early 1800s - Essay Example

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What are the legal and the social standing of women in the early 1800s

This paper will discuss the legal and the social status that women had during the period of 18th century, especially focusing on the early years of the century. Body The status of women during the 18th century can clearly be understood through the theory of power, dominant and non-dominant class of George M. Fredrickson (Fredrickson, n.d.). According to Fredrickson there is a dominant group that owns and controls all the rights and they do not offer these rights to other individuals of the society and this group thinks that they are superior to other individuals of the society. Similarly women during the 1800s and before were recognized as weak by men as men were the people who formed the elite group and represented the dominant class. During the 1800s men worked in jobs where they were the producers of goods and services and women and their children stayed home. During the 1800s century, the myth was that women were weaker as compared to men and did not have the ability to conduct work that required intellectual and muscular power. This created a view that working in organizations was very hard and the role could only be conducted by women. During this period, the domestic chores such as taking care of home and making food were assigned to women and men were involved in labor that required both mental and physical fitness such as hunting and plowing. (Welter, 1996). The task that women conducted was quite heavy in nature but they were not realized as tasks that require strong physical and mental health. The main task that a woman had during the 19th century was giving birth to a child and they used to remain busy in this task for quite a long period of time. In the 1800s the majority of the population of America shared a belief that women were inclined towards religion and they were thought of as individuals who would work with God and will ensure that the world is free of evil through their love which was categorized as pure and full of passion and suffering. Religion was found to be the best associate of women as they could easily practice it within the boundary lines of their homes. No woman was allowed to stand against or not practice religion and those females who did so were treated in a negative manner. Women were highly regarded for their purity and sex before marriage was seen as a curse and an illegal form of activity. According to Thomas Jefferson’s concept of cultural assimilation those who had less power and rights should accept the norms and cultural values of those who were dominant in society. Thomas Jefferson’s theory of assimilation can be applied to the men and women of the 1800s. This is because men had more resources and they were the dominant ones, so the women who had fewer rights and were the non-dominant ones had to accept what their husbands had to give to them and comply with the demands of the husbands of that period. During the early period of the 19th century women even had an inferior status according to law. Those females who were used to give up own identity and all the assets owned were transferred within the control of their husbands. The US law was even based on the idea that man had similar ownership over his wife and children as ownership of property. Fathers used to make decisions and law directed women to obey their husbands’ decision. Later during the 1830s and the 1840s certain changes to law were made. One such law was the Equity law that focused on giving equal rights to men and women. During the era of 1839, a woman legally had a right to sue her husband and ...Show more
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According to Fredrickson there is a dominant group that owns and controls all the rights and they do not offer these rights to other individuals of the society and this group thinks that they are superior to other individuals of the society. …
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What are the legal and the social standing of women in the early 1800s
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