Using a minimum of 600 words, address the following:
How did women broaden American notions of freedom before the Civil War?
What role did women’s wage work play in the formation of a women’s movement?
– free essay sample
Women Freedom before the Civil War
Before the civil war, women had started forming campaigns to champion for their freedom. One of the approaches was creating abolitionist campaigns to end slavery and the slave trade. The women campaigns kept the anti-slavery rallies alive in the 1800s (Slater, 2017). The participation of women in the abolitionist movement allowed them to champion for political equality. Fighting for equal participation of women, they had a goal of achieving equal pay, opportunity to vote, and right to education (Santos & Mazhikeyev, 2020). The fruits of their push for freedom were realized after the civil war since various changes took place, thus empowering women. For example, the Fourteenth Amendment affirmed the new rights to give women freedom in 1868 (Santos & Mazhikeyev, 2020). Therefore, although their efforts to push for freedom started before the civil war, the turnaround occurred after the war.
Women were pushing for self-ownership before the civil war. Self-ownership involved control over their bodies. The campaign for self-ownership was due to the ongoing violence against women (Slater, 2017). Men did not regard women as equal partners but as second class citizens who should obey all their commands. As a result, many women were sexually assaulted or raped (Santos & Mazhikeyev, 2020). The struggle for physical integrity and ownership of their bodies continued even after the civil war. One of the indicators of women’s problems is the statistics on the birth rate (Santos & Mazhikeyev, 2020). When women were granted self-ownership rights, the birth rate declined, showing that women could now exercise personal freedom over their sexual lives. Therefore, women’s struggle for freedom and equal opportunities was evident before the civil war (Slater, 2017). During the civil war, the women participated passionately in various positions since they anticipated the end of the war would bear fruits that would transform their society’s position.
Women’s Wage Work
Women’s wage work had a significant impact on the formation of the women’s movement. The launched a campaign for political and economic rights. They could point at their experience in hard labor (Murphy, 2018). Earning wages gained momentum as more women were joining the hard physical labor to provide for their families. Therefore, the women staged an argument that they could participate in the market revolution (Quffa, 2016). For instance, Sojourner Truth demonstrated her capability by pointing out her experience as a slave. She indicated that working as a slave enabled her to provide for her family. She was also not too delicate to participate in market opportunities (Quffa, 2016). Thus, the arguments presented the women an opportunity to campaign for more participation in the market through the women’s movement.
Women indicated that staying at home was not their domain, and their capabilities were not only limited to taking care of the children and carrying out house chores. Women wanted to participate in a better way to build their country, exploit their country, and utilize the available resources (Murphy, 2018). Women thus rejected the offer to only stay at home while working in various manual jobs. Therefore, they needed to participate in other types of jobs to demonstrate to the world who were are (Murphy, 2018). Women believed that containment in their homes was a limitation to their potential of adding value to the world.
The women’s movement was created due to the inequality that only granted male counterparts independence, freedom, and justice(Quffa, 2016). The women argued that independence and justice were gifts that every member of the family could share (Quffa, 2016). Therefore, due to their wage labor experience and their conviction about their potential, they created the women’s movement to champion for more rights and opportunities.
Murphy, B. L. (2018). The Equal Rights Amendment Revisited. Notre Dame L. Rev., 94, 937.
Quffa, W. A. (2016). A review of the history of gender equality in the United States of America. Social Sciences and Education Research Review, 3(2), 143-149.
Santos, C., & Mazhikeyev, A. (2020). Women Leaders in Latin America: The Impact of Gender Equality on Performance. Academy of Management Global Proceedings, (2020), 226.
Slater, S. (2017). To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement. The Historian, 79(1), 110.