|Categories:||Women Feminism American revolution Declaration of Independence|
Abigail Adams longed for women's liberation through her letters to her husband John Adams when she requested him to remember the women when drafting new sets of laws during the Declaration of Independence.
Before the American Revolution, women were traditionally constrained into the domestic sphere as they were viewed weaker and inferior to men. This could be seen in the way women were treated in the homes; marital relationships were more of obedience and subservience. During the revolution, however, this changed as women took up mens roles in running businesses and assisted in the war effort through fundraising for the war.
After the American Revolution women realized they needed more recognition beyond what men were giving them. The ideology of republicanism prevented the gender equality among men and women, thus viewing women as inferior. This was due to womens lack of property ownership, which was a requirement to participate fully in matters of the republic.
Republican motherhood was the only acceptable political role for women after the revolution because it reflected the importance of republicanism. Thus, women were considered essentials in teaching children the values that would lead to a healthy republic. After the revolution women had been given more liberal conditions as ideas of patriarchy faded, women had the right to own property but despite this permissiveness, they still found themselves subordinated legally to their husbands.
The American Revolution itself created an opportunity for a transformation in womens roles, rights, and responsibilities that had earlier on seemed impossible. Even so, the ideology of republicanism engendered women leading to more rigidity that prevented women from political life.
Judith Sargent Murray Argues for `Equality of the Sexes, 1790
According to Murray before the revolution, women were termed as mentally unequal to men in all areas. She argues in her essay that women are traditionally confined to activities such as sewing and cooking thus not bringing out the true nature of their creativity and intellects. Before the revolution women lacked avenues of expression, during the revolution when left behind to fend for the family and run businesses they awaken and see how confined to domestic issues they are.
Women were shortchanged in the education realm, as males were taught from an early age to aspire in life yet females were early confined and limited. This was blamed on the larger society for denying formal educational opportunities to women focused on the injustices to women in such policies. Before the revolution, Women were denied political rights because they were viewed of lesser intellect to men.
During the emergence of Republican motherhood movement whose idea was women to teach, exemplify and guard the spirit of the republic with the family. This movement dictated a more conservative approach to the ties between marriage and education.
The republican motherhood was acceptable especially after the revolution because of its conservative nature, as it did not fully grant women political rights to partake in elections. The Republican Motherhood movement was used as an educational platform for women. In turn, they would impart this education in children to become good citizens and acknowledge the ideals of republicanism. This role only Murray advocated for womens equal chance in education and employment opportunities as opposed to the restricted domestic arena.
The Republican Motherhood role helped in the call for improvement to womens education and employment opportunities. This came because of revolution, after acknowledging the significant role women play while the men were away. Despite the recognition of womens roles in the state, republicanism prevented political equality between the men, as women were not property owners as it was a necessity for political citizenship. Abigail Adams in her letters to her husband John Adams urges him to remember the women and put on the Declaration of Independence. She believes in women being empowered. Judith Sargent Murray believes in women getting an education to be intellectual equals to men.
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