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How And Why Did The Lives And Status Of Northern Middle Class Women Change Between 1776 1876

978 words - 4 pages

Between the years 1776 and 1876, many people from different backgrounds and religions joined the fight for women's rights. Among them were some of today's most memorable female activists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was also a mother of seven children. She was first influenced by a Quaker woman, named Lucretia Mott, who she met outside of a world antislavery convention in 1840. Eventually, Stanton joined Susan B. Anthony, who was a fearless "militant lecturer for women's rights," in "a more strident, drive for divorce liberation, sexual freedom, and reproductive control for women. Other crusaders for women's rights include Amelia Bloomer, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and even the second first lady, Abigail Adams. Those who opposed the suffragists believed women to be inferior and "irresponsible" beings who were "physically and emotionally weak, but also artistic and refined." They also had "finely tuned morals" and were the "keepers of society's conscience." On the other hand, men were thought of as "strong but crude" and with a natural tyrannical and savage nature that needed to be "guided by the gentle hands of their loving ladies." Abigail confirms the male's natural desire for arbitrary power in Document B, for she stated, "[...] all Men would be tyrants if they could."
In the times of these notorious women, there were several injustices against females, that fueled their fiery and passionate desires for equality. In 1848, activists at Seneca Falls saw the likeness between women and slaves as an issue. They enunciated, "[The husband] has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages they earn." Women advocates also stated the husband becomes, "to all intents and purposes, her master-the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement." Susan B. Anthony once revealed the similarities between the lives of slaves and the lives of women. She questioned, "What is a slave? 'a person who is robbed of the proceeds of his labor; a person who is subject to the will of another. . . .'" She believed that two of the same things can have different names, but they are no different. She declared, "there is an old saying that 'a rose by any name would smell as sweet.'" Susan B. Anthony was also "ashamed" with the "common law of marriage," which Sir William Blackwell summed up by stating, "Husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband." Blackwell also explained, "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband." Activist women saw the invisibility of women as another problem of their time and addressed it in the "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions." To...

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