Public education in Antebellum America

Women’s Rights in Antebellum America

Lucretia MottIn the era of revivalism and reform, American understood the family and home as the hearthstones of civic virtue and moral influence. This increasingly confined middle-class white women to the domestic sphere, where they were responsible for educating children and maintaining household virtue. Yet women took the very ideology that defined their place in the home and managed to use it to fashion a public role for themselves. As a result, women actually became more visible and active in the public sphere than ever before. The influence of the Second Great Awakening, coupled with new educational opportunities available to girls and young women, enabled white middle-class women to leave their homes en masse, joining and forming societies dedicated to everything from literary interests to the antislavery movement.

In the early nineteenth century, the dominant understanding of gender claimed that women were the guardians of virtue and the spiritual heads of the home. Women were expected to be pious, pure, submissive, and domestic, and to pass these virtues on to their children. Historians have described these expectations as the “Cult of Domesticity, ” or the “Cult of True Womanhood, ” and they developed in tandem with industrialization, the market revolution, and the Second Great Awakening. In the early nineteenth century, men’s working lives increasingly took them out of the home and into the “public sphere.” At the same time, revivalism emphasized women’s unique potential and obligation to cultivate Christian values and spirituality in the “domestic sphere.” There were also real legal limits to what women could do outside of it. Women were unable to vote, men gained legal control over their wives’ property, and women with children had no legal rights over their offspring. Additionally, women could not initiate divorce, make wills, or sign contracts. Women effectively held the legal status of children.


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FAQ

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What is Wyoming's ranking for public education in the United States?

As of 2009 Wyoming ranked number 32 among all 50 states when it comes to education. Not bad!

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Where does the state of Georgia rank in public education?

Georgia Ranks 45th in the nation as of August, 2008.

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What are the bottom five states ranked in public education?

5: California, 4: Nevada 3: New Mexico 2:Mississippi and the worst state is Arizona.

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