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Essay on The Evolving Role of Women in American History

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The Evolving Role of Women in American History


The role of American women has changed significantly from the time the nation was born, to the modern era of the 1950s and 1960s. Many people, "... believed that women's talent and energies ... would be put to the better [use] in the new republic." (Clinton 3) Clearly showing that society has seen the importance of the women's talents and that their skills can be very useful, exploited this and thus, the change of the women's role was inevitable. Society has understood that the roles of women played an important role on all parts of life.

To understand the significant change in the role of the women is to understand its roots. Traditionally, women in colonial America were limited in the roles they played or limited in their "spheres of influence." Women were once seen as only needed to bear children and care for them. Their only role was domestic; related to activities such as cooking and cleaning. A married woman shared her husband's status and often lived with his family. The woman was denied any legal control over her possession, land, money, or even her own children after a divorce. In a sense, she was the possession of her husband after marriage. She "... was a legal incompetent, as children, idiots, and criminals were under English law. As feme covert she was stripped of all property; once married, the clothes on her back, her personal possessions--whether valuable, mutable or merely sentimental--and even her body became her husband's, to direct, to manage, and to use. Once a child was born to the couple, her land, too, came under his control." (Berkin 14)
"The majority of ... women in the colonies ... lived in rural, agricultural settings." (Berkin, 139) Their daily ...


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...ted

Bender, David L. The Women's Rights Movement, Opposing Viewpoints: Greenhaven Press, Inc., San Diego 1996

Berkin, Carol. First Generations, Women in Colonial America: Hill and Wang, New York 1992

Clinton, Catherine. The Other Civil War, American Women in the Nineteenth Century: Hill and Wang, New York 1986

Kaledin, Eugenia. American Women in the 1950s, Mothers and More: Twayne Publishers, Boston 1984

Kaufman, Debra R. and Richardson, Barbara L. Achievement and Women, Challenging the Assumptions: The Free Press, New York 1982

Rappaport, Doreen. American Women, Their Lives in Their Words: Thomas Y. Crowell, New York 1990

Smith, Carter. Daily Life, A Sourcebook on Colonial America: The Millbrook Press, Brookfield, Connecticut 1991

Zeinert, Karen. Those Incredible Women of World War 2: The Millbrook Press, Brookfield, Connecticut 1994


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