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Northern Middle-Class Women (1981 Dbq)

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Between the years of 1776 and 1876, a key change came about in America over the women. Before these dates, women were not considered to be very important to the community. The only major role they played was raising children and bringing food to the table. Since the years of the Revolution and the Constitutional Convention, however, the nation nearly doubled its geographic boundaries and its population. When the Market Revolution hit America, many people felt isolated and cut off from traditional sources of comfort and community.

In order to regain the sense of comfort that America once had, many people, especially women, created and sought after societies of reform. They felt very inspired, considering the Second Great Awakening just ended. In doing so, the control of the nation's future slowly returned to the citizens of the United States.

In a letter to her husband, Abigail Adams asked him to remember the ladies, and "to be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors". She goes on to warn John Adams not to put unrestricted power into the hands of men (Doc B). Abigail wrote this letter in light of the new position women are representing. The women finally decided to take action and rebel against how their ancestors have lived in the past.

John Adams responded to Abigail's letter in a mocking way (Doc C). He scorned her and laughed at how seriously she was taking the matter. Out of frustration, Abigail wrote to one of her close friends, saying, "I think I will get you to join me in a petition to Congress" (Doc D). The chain of letters reveals the beginning of a major change that will happen in the near future supporting the development of women's rights.

Industrialization had a major impact on the lives of every American, including women. Before the era of industrialization, around the 1790's, a typical home scene depicted women carding and spinning while the man in the family weaves (Doc F). One statistic shows that men dominated women in the factory work, while women took over teaching and domestic services (Doc G). This information all relates to the changes in women because they were being discriminated against and given children's work while the men worked in factories all day. Women wanted to be given an equal chance, just as the men had been given. In Document H, it states how women are used "not so much to help their husbands spend a living, as to help them get one". The address illustrates that men didn't think women were important in contributing to their industrial lives.

Document K cites the Ladies' Repository, created in 1845. In it, the poem talks about how a woman's "sphere" is not found in wild crowds and debates, but at home, "where hatred may not come". The poem indicates the discrimination and the stereotyping of women. It basically states that women don't belong to a place where they can have a say in things that matter, or argue over important issues. Instead, women should be kept at home, keeping them from any type of conflict or dispute.

Although women and education were considered to be closely related during this time, inequality was proven in the schools as well. In Document N, one graph shows how the women dominated the men in

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