WOMEN'S RIGHTS DURING THE NINTEENTH CENTURY
In the nineteenth century, American women lived an age categorized by gender inequality. From the beginning of the century, it was common for women to have few legal, social, or political rights that are now taken for granted in. Women could not vote, could not sue or be sued, and could not testify in court. They also had restricted control over personal property after marriage, were rarely granted legal custody of their children in cases of divorce, and were barred from institutions of higher education. Obedience to their fathers and their husbands was also a big factor back in this time.
Although the expectations of women in the early nineteenth century were shifting, their status within a patriarchal society remained the same. Politically, they were absolutely powerless. Because of the social expectations that tied female dependence on men, single women and widows were the most vulnerable. They were extremely limited on occupational choices as well. Middle and upper-class women normally stayed at home, while caring for their children and running/taking care of the household. However, Lower-class women often worked outside the home, but they were usually servant or worker in factories and mills.
Lower class women were mostly poor farmers’ daughters, often worked to support themselves, as their husbands or fathers were not making enough money to support the family. Their jobs included working for higher class families, doing household duties such as cleaning or cooking. They could also work as laundresses, seamstresses or nurses. The highest paying positions these women could occupy were those of midwives or dressmakers, because these jobs required more skill and training. In these ways, the underprivileged white American women were able to help support their families. In addition to their outside jobs, these women, unable to afford help in the house, also had all the responsibilities of their household, which...