In earlier days of the eighteenth century, the options that women had were a lot more constrained than in the present day. A couple of centuries ago, the roles of women which may seem familiar to many today were quite diverse. Almost all the women got married in the said era because their status was pegged basically on the man they married.
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They were dedicated helpers to their spouses. Upon marriage, the husband became a defender and utter master and her lawfully autonomous existence ceased to exist and her social being was primarily distinctive via her husband’s place in society. Husbands and fathers “controlled everything preventing women from attaining independence” (Pearson, 4).
Women were left restrained to a domestic orb thus looking up to the men to fulfill their needs due to the “common line of thought that only economically autonomous persons were able to implement the liberty of alternatives required to occupy an answerable part in the communal field of business and political affairs” (Zagarri, 102). This kept women within a system of societal reliance where they could only manage to getaway infrequently.
Gundersen was of the opinion that “Women were neither insignificant nor inactive as much as they were permitted just a minor part in societal activities” (128). They brought up children and controlled households. The qualities of a fine wife included an assortment of agility which may not be connected to running a household.
Women produced soap, milked cows and produced cheese from the milk, reared poultry which they later butchered, sewed clothing from cloth that they spun, conserved vegetables they grew, smoked meat on top of cleaning up and food preparation. Furthermore, inadequate equipment dictated that several jobs such as doing the laundry were tedious, back-wrenching day-long jobs that entailed sturdy muscles as well as carrying heavy loads.
Some other jobs such as sewing called for one to be agile. All the same, women were supposed to run the economy of a household much as they were normally excluded from holding major positions in business by societal gatherings.
Mayer observed that, “As the protectorates fought to acquire their autonomy, the communal importance of women emerged more evidently to women as well as men” (72). In the course of the uprising, certain knowledge like spinning got more appreciated. Some tasks that were regarded as manly duties were tackled by women who found the occasion to show their abilities to do so, as the war took shape and the men were away.
Portia observed that such occasions were like when women took over the running of farms that belong to the family and went ahead to “run the farm in all the aspects from planning the quantities of land to be tilled, when to till the land, what to plant to selling excess crop” (68).
According to historians, in the course of the battles, women wrote letters to their spouses about “our farm” rather than “your farm”. As simple as this linguistic transition may appear, it denoted “a vital change in terms of thoughts” (Norton 46).
Kerber stated that the fight for equal opportunity “would in due course be taken forth by the granddaughters as well as the daughters of the eighteenth century women, as the avant-garde hostilities did not considerably alter the material lives of majority of women” (65).
Women’s standing, as much as they, in point of fact, turned out to be narrower and inflexibly defined subsequent to the war, was enhanced. Their capabilities and intellect, though reluctantly, were accredited. With this came enhanced chances for education for women and more variety for them in marriage too as well as recognition of the significance of motherhood.
Gundersen, Joan. To Be Useful to the World: Women in Revolutionary America 1740-1790. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996. Print.
Kerber, Linda. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America.
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1980. Print.
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Mayer, Holly. Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and the Military Community During the American Revolution. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996. Print.
Norton, Mary-Beth. Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1780-1800 . Boston: Little, Brown and Company., 1980. Print.
Pearson, Jim. Women of the American Revolution. Los Angeles: NCHS, 1991. Print.
Portia, Edith. The World of Abigail Adams. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992. Print.
Zagarri, Rosemarie. A Woman’s Dilema: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution. Wheeling: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1995. Print.