Family was economic and social center of colonial life
People married at a younger age and reared more children than in Europe
Average number of children: 8
More than 90% lived on farms.
Cooking, cleaning, making clothes medical care, educating children
Women worked next to husbands in the shops/plantations/farms.
Divorce was legal but rare.
Women had limitedlegal and political rights
During the American Revolution, some women followed their en into the armed camps and worked as cooks and nurses
Some women, like Mary McCauley (Molly Pitcher) took up arms when their husbands were unable to fight.
EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY
Abigail regularly advised her husband, President John Adams
Adams: "I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."
Former slave, writer
As American society became more urban and industrialized, nature of work and family changed for women.
Many women no longer worked next to their husbands on family farms
Women who wanted to work in the city had only two choices: domestic service or teaching
First factory job for young, single women.
WOMEN ON THE WESTERN FRONTIER
Life for women in the sparsely settled West was very difficult
Isolation, endless work, rigors of childbirth = short lifespans.
Women abolitionists who had attended a conference in London were not allowed entry
Inspired some to hold a meeting in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848
LEADING TO CIVIL WAR
MULLER V. OREGON (1903)
Supported by Louis Brandeis
Drew on sociological studies to determine that women had less strength and endurance than men
Determined that long hours of labor were dangerous for women because of their unique ability to bear children.
Case upheld the Oregon law limiting women’s workday to ten hours in factories and laundries
Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA)
Threw support of 2 million members into war effort
Promoted food conservation
And distributed emergency relief through organizations such as Red Cross
President Carrie Chapman Catt
Declared that women had to prove their patriotism to win the ballot
National Women’s Party (NWP)
Quaker who had worked in the settlement movement
Earned PhD in political science
Found that as a NAWSA lobbyist that congressmen dismissed her.
Paul founded NWP in 1916
Inspired by militant British suffragists
Group began July 1917 to picket the White House
Paul and other NWP activists faced arrest for obstructing traffic
Sentenced to 7 months in jail
Protested by going on hunger strike – forced fed by prison authorities
Drew attention to suffrage cause
19TH AMENDMENT, 1920
Impressed by NWSA’s patriotism and worried by NWPs militancy
Anti-suffrage Wilson reversed position
Jan. 1918 urged support for women suffrage as a “war measure.”
Constitutional amendment quickly passed House of Reps
Took 18 months to get through Senate
And another year to win ratification by states
August 26, 1920
Tennessee voted for ratification
19th Amendment became law.
Neither Catt’s patriotism nor Paul’s militaristic protest might have worked without extraordinary impact of Great War.
Only places where women had full suffrage were New Zealand, Austrlia, Finland and Norway.
Soviet Union first – 1917
Great Britain and Canada followed in 1918
By 1920: Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, US
Not France and Italy – not until after WWII
Switzerland – 1971
SHEPPARD-TOWNER FEDERAL MATERNITY AND INFANCY ACT (1921)
Provided federal funds for medical clinics, prenatal education programs and visiting nurses.
Opponents fear it would lead to socialized medicine
Improved healthcare for the poor and lowered infant mortality.
“NEW WOMAN” 1920s
Name from the way their arms “flapped” when dancing (like the wings of a bird)
Ironically it became easier for women to drink alcohol during Prohibition
Speakeasies more accepting of women than old saloons
Cigarettes and alcohol
Short skirts and hair
Opponents to out of control women
Traditionalism v. modernity
(See DBQ - "Explain the causes of the rise of a women's rights movement in the period 1940-1975" )
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Promoted by Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party
Proposed eliminating all legal distinctions “on account of sex”
Paul reasoned: after political equality, women no longer required special legal protection
But needed access to employment, education and other citizen opportunities.
By 1972 ERA was ratified by 28 of 38 required states
But campaigned failed
1970s Phyllis Schlafly campaigned against ERA
Feared that it would take away privileges already given to women
Like alimony, child support exemption from Selective Service (the draft
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1892 described the "solitude of self"
rejected claim that women didn't need equl rights because they ejoyed men's protection.
"The talk of sheltering woman from the fierce storms of life is the sheerest mockery, they beat on her from every point of the compass , just as they do on man, and with more fatal results, fo he has been trained to protect himself"