Added: Meosha Garrity - Date: 26.02.2022 21:34 - Views: 38739 - Clicks: 5812
This paper will deal with the attitudes of the early nineteenth century toward women and their roles. The paper will examine these attitudes by utilizing primary sources such as newspapers and advice and housekeeping books and by comparing them to books written today on the topic of nineteenth century women. Many examples taken from period newspapers represent the opinion of historian Barbara Welter that attitudes of women were based on their possession of certain well?
This paper will concentrate on the vitues of piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity. This paper will also address the question of female education, as an issue of the period was whether a formal or practical education would accent these virtues and better prepare women for their stations in life.
The attitudes represented are those of the working class. The locations concentrated on are small or medium sized towns such as Athol, Barre, Fitchburg, Millbury and Southbridge that are influenced by the city of Worcester. The sources represented are those available to the common man. They tend to exclude the feelings of the upper and lower classes. Newspapers were written for the purpose of informing the community of world and national events. The varied topics suggests they catered to a diversified audience.
Newspapers included stories about people in history, anecdotes which represented moral attitudes, sentimental poems and advertisements. The classifieds indicate that the audience was made up of both men and women. There were advertisements for boy apprentices and tailoresses, and manufacturers advertised everything from harnesses to bonnets. To afford these, the audience need not have had a large income nor have held a powerful position in the community. The advertisements represented items in which the average citizens might have an interest.
Magazines were published less frequently than newspapers and, therefore, one issue of a magazine printed quarterly would include the same amount of information found in twelve newspapers. Unlike the newspapers, which were distributed at the local level, magazines had a larger audience. This audience was national and represented people from different backgrounds and different experiences. Though topics discussed were the same as those in newspapers, magazines included articles from different points of view. Books were written for a more selective audience. The books used in this paper were housekeeping and advice books.
Interestingly enough, much advice was written on the topic of housekeeping. These books were expected to be read by women. One of the major topics of discussion was the most efficient utilization of a husband's income. If the books were for men as well, they would not have excluded the husband from advice on managing something of his wife's.
Novels were written as a form of entertainment for women. They were often sentimental, a characteristic attributed in the nineteenth century to women. In a single novel, the topics discussed were fewer than in other forms of literature. Novels presented a very limited view of the society in which they were written. The novel Live and Let Live, for example, discussed intemperance, piety, and the proper treatment of servants.
It studied the lives of the lower and upper classes and did not deal with the middle classes who neither depended solely on their daughter's income, nor maintained servants enough to abuse. A novel's audience was smaller and more selective. It involved a conscious decision to purchase and read a single novel unlike receiving the weekly newspaper or the quarterly magazine.
Diaries and journals were written with no audience in mind. They were personal records of progress in school, of harvests, of religious salvation and of individual thoughts. They represent personalized s of events. The same events might appear in a newspaper but they are far removed from the person who experienced them.
Letters differed in that they intended to be read, but they were composed with a particular individual in mind. The topics and approaches may be specific and limited. For example, information about life, which would be obvious to persons living in the early nineteenth century, might be intentionally omitted for that reason.
This is also the case in diaries and journals, which is why they are not concentrated on in this paper.
Other sources have proven much too useful to condense them and include sources which provide only sketches of information. The opinions in this paper have developed from reading all these sources. These opinions are maintained because of the frequency with which the same attitudes were expressed by people of the period.
Carried into the specialized and industrialized communities of the nineteenth century, the eighteenth century agrarian view of women participating in the work close to the home while their husbands went into the fields, dominated. Traditionally, it was believed that women were essentially different in character from men. This was a convenient necessity because, it was maintained, they were here on earth for a different purpose than a man.
Women were homemakers. They nourished their families and kept them safe from the cruel world. Husbands depended on their wives to maintain solace in their homes. In an article written for Freedom's Sentinel, the characteristics of the feminine mind were described as tenderness and simplicity, characteristics which made home life more amiable to the man who had to deal with the corrupt, complex world. Men were encouraged to trust a woman as a confident and a friend. Women expressed disappointment if they were not able to serve their husbands as mental, as well as physical, companions.
Piety was a valued asset in a woman. Piety brought her social advantages in the form of active participation in the community as a member of a church? Such a useful, Christian position commanded the respect and praise of the community. Particpation in religion encouraged women's self?
The trend in the belief of feminine inferiority was halted as women effectively managed organizations not directly related to the family.
To alleviate the fears of men that their wives were concentrating on issues unrelated to the family, piety did not keep a wife from her proper sphere. Meetings could be held in the home. Young children could be brought along the same way they would be when visiting friends. The lady of the house would demonstrate her domestic skills by cleaning the house before her guests arrived and by making sure they had something to accompany the tea which could be served during a meeting.
It was believed that a woman's gentler nature better suited her to piety and charity. The of women that ministers found among their congregations was great. The obituary in June,of Mrs. Debby Thompson, the wife of the minister, cited the benefits of religion to women. The virtuous character of the deceased gave example of how religion could bring pleasure to the mind and be the controlling power over the conduct of life.
Furthermore, other women could take example from Mrs. Thompson who did not regard the duties of domestic life as beneath the Christian notice of character and professed it was not inconsistent with her obligations to God and the Savior. Women may have found peace from the corruption of the world through religion. It also provided an outlet for the personal trials which women were forced to confront from day to day. Men could use their job to take their mind off of trouble at home, but women's job was at home.
The death of was one example of a woman's involvement with religion. Religion instructed to love God before all others. The mother was often torn between the belief that her piety had provided salvation for her child and the thought that a moment of impiety on her part may have invoked God's wrath. Piety was not always good for all women. It had its dangers and disadvantages. An article in the National Aegis, from the Boston Centinel, examined how religion tended to form a manly character.
Women were expected to be pure and magazines provided sufficient fear of the dangers of impurity. But, only women were coached directly on remaining pure. Men were advised what to do to get back on the track once they had strayed.
They were first advised about the importance of their desires and satisfaction. The fact that it was basic to educate a woman on keeping her husband's heart as pure as possible indicates that women expected a high rate of activity on the part of the man. A man of the period was expected to respect purity. If he made any overtures and a woman stopped him from violating her purity, he was expected to be grateful to her. The implication was that he would think much more of a woman who saved him from himself than he would of a woman who allowed him to ruin her purity.
A woman's wisdom in these matters of delicacy was her means of influence over the nature of man. Women, through religion and purity were helping others. Being self? Women were taught that to be true, they were required to submerge their own talents to work for their husbands.
It was totally acceptable for a wife to complement her husband by paying lip service to him. One husband praised his wife for her "quick, womanly perception," when all she had done was agree with him. Women, it was supposed, had no reason not to be submissive, as their men would only give them the best. The Fitchburg Gazette of July 22,reported a tale of "Cruelty and Suicide" in which a young lady, long subject to the beatings of her father, in anticipation of another, committed suicide.
Submissive wives, who followed the, advice not to retort an abusive husband, received praise and were supposedly rewarded with a happy home and a faithful husband.Submissive girl in worcester
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