An Insight into the 1830s and 1840s social and economic scenario from a feminine perspective
For many decades, women have played an inferior role in society and have been treated by men as “secondary citizens.” This degradation of the women population was prevalent in the 19th century as well. For example, “suffrage” which is the privilege to vote was restricted to men. This restriction was not just for women but also for other minorities such as African Americans and Native Americans during the 1830s and 1840.
However, the 1830’s and 1840’s also held many positives for the women population. There was a commencement of the movement towards independence and women’s rights during this era. The women in this age became more inquisitive and started demanding more from the public and society in general and started thinking “out of the box.” Compared to the role of women in that era, and what was enforced through social rules and norms upon, this demand for liberation was nothing short of new and radical. In the late 1840s, two of the most famous women in this era for the reformist movement Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized a public speech for women to express their views to the women of that generation regarding roles and rights. This resulted in the Seneca Falls Convention which was the first ever women’s rights convention in the USA. A “Declaration of Sentiments” was created which stated that “all men and women are created equal.” Some women rejected the ideas as they seemed too “shocking,” however the good work done by that era can be seen in today’s society (Wilson, 2006). Some organizations such as the Odd Fellows continued to reject women’s inclusion. One member of the Odd Fellows explains: “Lodges of Odd Fellows are formed, and in them men are banded together to do what is natural for women to do. The leading principles of our Order are but the innate principles of women’s nature” (Franco, 1985).
However, despite all the objections from the male segment and even some females, the women’s movement flourished in this era and a lot of positives can be extracted from that time for the women population.
Franco, B. (1985). Many Fraternal Groups Grew From Masonic Seed . Retrieved March 18, 2009, from The Northern Lights: http://www.linshaw.com/omtp/vol4no11.html
Wilson, G. (2006, July 24). Reform in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://www.dlt.ncssm.edu/lmtm/docs/reform/script.pdf