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Women’s Rights and Roles 1815-1848. By Connor Binford and Leah Rose. Cult of Domesticity The Ideal Woman. The Cult of Domesticity was the idea that “a woman’s place was in the home and on a pedestal” (Brands 324).

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Women s rights and roles 1815 1848

Women’s Rights and Roles1815-1848

By Connor Binford and Leah Rose

Cult of domesticity the ideal woman
Cult of DomesticityThe Ideal Woman

  • The Cult of Domesticity was the idea that “a woman’s place was in the home and on a pedestal” (Brands 324).

  • Women were seen as the angels of the household and were expected to keep a clean and peaceful environment for the husband and children.

  • Even though men would be considered politically superior, women were seen as domestically superior.

  • Women were considered the guardians of moral and religious virtues, and were believed to be the ones who must instill these wholesome values into their husband and children.

Cult of domesticity the ideal woman part 2
Cult of DomesticityThe Ideal Woman Part 2.

  • The cause of the Cult of Domesticity was the growing division between the lives of the middle-class men and women. Now that economic activity no longer centered on the home, but on other places, such as factories, Women created their own sphere of influence i.e. the home.

  • The Cult of Domesticity did not apply to all women. Lower-class women may not have had enough time to pursue such a perfect household.

  • On the other hand, this ideal inspired efforts to expand their sphere onto the world of men. These ideas could be seen in the crusades to stop intemperance, gambling, and sexual vice.

Republican motherhood virtuous mothers make a better america
Republican MotherhoodVirtuous Mothers make a Better America

  • Republican Motherhood- The idea of an educated woman

  • Women’s roles started changing after the American Revolution. Women who ran the house in the absence of her husband became more assertive (began to fight for their rights more)

  • Abigail Adams early advocate of women’s rights (“Remember the ladies…”)

  • People believed America could only succeed if it’s people was virtuous and educated (women most virtuous people so their job to raise children to be virtuous)

  • Women must be schooled in virtue (increased the education of women greatly)

Women in work a new kind of independence
Women In WorkA New Kind Of Independence

  • Due to the Industrial Revolution, many new unskilled job opportunities, and inventions were created.

  • Unskilled labor and people to operate the new machinery were needed, and women filled this void.

  • The Lowell “mill girls” was the name for the female textile workers in Lowell, Massachusetts. ¾ of workers at the mill at the time were women (very unusual in society).They were the perfect example of the increasing amount of working class women. They participated in labor unions and strikes, showing women beginning to fight for their rights.

Women at work a new kind of independence part 2
Women at WorkA New Kind of Independence Part 2.

  • Many people thought that the feminine traits of women would make them be superior teachers and educators.

  • For women who worked in factories the most common occupation was making hats, textiles, boots, and shoes.

Abolition as a catalyst the anti slavery movement leading to women s rights
Abolition as a CatalystThe Anti-Slavery Movement Leading to Women’s Rights

  • From the beginning, women were highly active participants in the Anti-Slavery Movement. Soon women began to leave their sphere of influence and become public speakers between 1835 and 1838.

  • The Grimké sisters were especially famous for openly speaking out against slavery.

  • When men made it difficult for women to participate equally in the movement some women began to take notice of male dominance.

Abolition as a catalyst the anti slavery movement leading to women s rights part 2
Abolition as a CatalystThe Anti-Slavery Movement leading to Women’s Rights Part 2.

  • In 1840, many american abolitionists, including William Llyod Garrison, withdrew from World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London, when the sponsors refused to seat women in their delegation.

  • After this incident new campaigns for women’s rights went underway and soon led to the Seneca Falls Convention.

Seneca falls convention a meeting for change
Seneca Falls ConventionA meeting for Change

  • Began because women were refused to be seated at anti-slavery convention (all founders of convention active in antislavery movements)

  • A meeting of women “to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of women”.

  • Leaders of the convention (except for one) were Quakers, which gave women some measure of equality.

  • Elizabeth Stanton wrote Declaration of Sentiments, stating all grievances of men towards women.

  • Used Declaration of Independence as the guide for the document (“…All men are created equal…”/ “…all men and women had been created equal…”)

Married women s property act gaining women s rights one step at a time
Married Women’s Property ActGaining Women’s Rights One Step at a Time

  • Before the Married Women’s Property Act in 1848, women lost all land they owned before the marriage and could not buy anymore property.

  • Also could not make contracts, keep or control their own wages or rents, transfer/sell property, or bring a lawsuit against anyone

  • A few laws passed before 1848, which gave women a few property rights, but this was more comprehensive

  • More laws passed after this giving women even more property rights

  • 1848 law says that when women married, their land, debts, rents, etc. were only theirs to do what they want with, and did not belong to their husbands, like if they never married.

The colt of true womanhood an influential essay by barbara welter
The Colt of True WomanhoodAn Influential Essay by Barbara Welter

  • Four cardinal values of True Womanhood are piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity.

  • Religion was the “core of women’s virtues” Given to women by a divine right and for a reason

  • "the vestal flame of piety, lightened up by Heaven in the breast of woman" would throw its beams into the naughty world of men. So far would the candle power reach that the "Universe might be enlightened, improved, and harmonized by Woman...."bringing the world back "from its revolt and sin...”

  • Shows how women were viewed in the community

Rights of a true woman different from women s rights
Rights of A True WomanDifferent from Women’s rights

  • The right to love whom others scorn 
The right to comfort and to mourn. 
The right to shed new joy on earth. 
The right to feel the souls high worth. 
Such women’s rights,  and God will bless 
And crown their champions with success...


  • http://www.npg.si.edu/col/seneca/senfalls1.htm

  • http://www.ushistory.org/us/12d.asp

  • Brands textbook

  • Howe What Hath God Wrought

  • http://www.pinzler.com/ushistory/cultwo.html

  • Barbara Welter “The Cult of True Womanhood”