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How The Societal Expectations Of Women In The 18th Century Mirrored America's Hopes For A Prosperous Republic.

920 words - 4 pages

The societal expectations of women in the 18th century mirrored America's hope for a prosperous republic. It was a macrocosm microcosm effect, when if there were chaos inside the home due to women's actions, there would be a sense of chaos in the nation. Starting from how women were expected to present themselves in physical demeanor to how they were expected to speak, there were strict outlines of natural behavior for women to be considered civil.Women were expected to be physically present and intellectually absent. In any matter that entailed a great deal of importance men were naturally the ones to decide the outcomes of our fate. Franklin believed that men, and only men, were expected to present themselves to be aware of issues facing the new nation and always actively participated in ways to solve any problems that may have existed. Women on the other hand were not even thought of in political matters instead their role in the construction of a new nation was their journey towards motherhood.This leads to the matters of courtship and how extreme these cases could become. In social gatherings people would expose the person that they wanted to expose. This is not a case that is only seen in this time period, however because people had such provincial mindsets when viewing civil virtue and being proper, one's outer self became increasingly distinguishable from one's true self. On top of this fact, a woman's parents greatly influenced the process of courtship. Suitors that the woman truly did like may not have fallen so kindly in favor with her parents and if her parents believed another man was better suited for her then she was expected to comply with her parent's wishes. Benjamin Franklin states, "That generally when a young man found himself dispo'd to marry, he inform'd the elders of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that govern'd the young women...they could best judge what matches were suitable." Parents and elders decided who would marry who and it would not be left up to the women and men choosing to choose one another.Up and coming mothers in the rising republic of American were expected to be beautiful and obedient to they point where it could be said that it was almost a relationship that could have existed between slave and master. In a letter from Boyer to Eliza the standards for women are set, "there is a levity in your manners, which is inconsistent with the solidity and decorum becoming a lady who has arrived to years of discretion." Franklin believed that women should be well educated, however the majority of Americans did not believe...

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