Primary Sources: There will be ten (10) Primary Sources that students will read over the class. Each Primary Source will be labeled as OpV # and will require the student to understand each side of a topic, provide a 300 word summary of each side, and then answer the questions at the end of italicized Introduction. Each summary must be original and should refrain from containing any quotes. The answers to the questions should have a location (page 3, second paragraph in the first column) but will not need a direct quote. The goal is to have the students engage directly with individuals from the past and wrestle with their opinions from both sides of a historical Discussion. Each summary will be worth 20 points – 10 OpVs with two summaries per = 20 summaries total for 200 points.
Make sure you are checking your Originality Report for each assignment. This report tells me if there is a concern with parts of your submission related to other students. In other words, you do not want to have a high percentage because it will look like you plagiarized someone else's work. If you are going to work together on these assignments, make sure that your submission is your voice. This ain't Math class, so do not copy someone else's work!
Social Reform Issues of the Antebellum Era
V i e w p o i n t 2 5 A Women Hold an Exalted Status in America (1 841)
Catharine E. Beecher ( 1 800-1 878)
I N T R O D U C T I O N The issue of women 's rights began to gain national prominence in the mid-1 BOOs. During this time many peopl.e wrote and spoke of the importance of women in managing the household and instilling character in children. One of the most prominent advocates of this point of view was Catharine E. Beecher, a noted author and education reformer. She was a member of a leading New England family; her
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father and brother were both famous preachers, and her siste1; Hmriet Beecher Stowe, was the writer ofUncle Tom's Cabin. Beecher believed that homemaking and teaching were the proper roles for women in American society, and sought to improve the status of women by stressing their importance in the "domestic sphere. " Al though active in the abolitionist movement and other social reforms, Beecher opposed women s suffrage and the other goals of the nascent feminist movement.
The following viewpoint is excerpted .from the opening chapter of A Treatise on Domestic Economy, for the Use of Young Ladies At Home, and at School, a how-to book on homemaking that was a best seller in the 1840s and 1850s. Beecher argues that women gain respect and equality with men by remaining in the domestic sphere. She compares the United States fa vorably with Europe regarding the position and treat ment of women, by quoting extensively .from Democracy in America, an influential 1 835 book by French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville.
What choices do American women have regarding marriage, according to Beecher. What important responsibilities does she say American women have?
There are s o m e reasons why American women should feel an interest i n the support o f the democratic institutions of their Country, which it is important that they should consider. The great maxi m , which is the basis o f all our civil and p o l i tical institutions, is, that "all men are created equal," and that they are equally enti tled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit o f happiness . " . . .
But, in order that each individual may pursue and se cure the highest degree of happiness within his reach, unimpeded by the selfish i nterests o f others, a system of laws must be established, which sustain certain relations and dependencies i n social and civil life. What these rela tions and their attending obligations shall be, are to be determ ined, not with reference to the wishes and interests of a few, but solely with reference to the general good o f a l l ; so that each individual shall have his o w n interest, a s much a s the public benefit, secured b y them.
THE DUTIES OF SUBORDINATION
For this purpose, i t is needful that certain relations be sustained, that involve the duties o f subordinati o n . There m ust be t h e magistrate a n d t h e subj ect, o n e o f whom is t h e superior, and t h e other t h e inferior. There must be the relations o f husband and wife, parent and child, teacher and pupil, employer and employed, each involving the relative duties of subordination. The supe rior i n certain particulars is to di rect, and the inferior is to yield obedience. S o ciety co uld never go fo rward,
From A Treatise on Domestic Economy by Cacharine E. Beecher (Bosrnn: March, Capen, Lyon, and Webb, 1 84 1 ).
harmoniously, nor could any craft or profession be suc cessfully p u rsued, unless these superior and subordinate relations be instituted and sustained.
But who shall take the higher, and who the subordi nate, stations i n social and civil life ? This matter, i n the case of parents and children, is decided by the Creator. H e has given children to the control of parents, as their superiors, and to them they remain subordinate, to a cer tain age, or so long as they are members of their house hold. And parents can delegate such a portion o f their authority to teachers and employers, as the i n terests of their children require.
I n most other cases, i n a truly democratic s tate, each individual is allowed to choose for himself, who shall take the position of his superior. No woman is forced to obey any husband but the one she chooses for herself; nor is she o b l iged to take a husband, if she prefers to rem ain single . . . .
The institutions o f monarchical and aristocratic nations are based on p recisely opposite principles. They secure, to certain small and favored classes, advantages which can be maintained, only by sacrificing the interests of the great mass o f the people. Thus, the throne and aristocracy o f England are supported by laws and cus toms, that burden the lower classes with taxes, so enor m o u s , as to deprive them of all the luxuries, and o f most o f t h e comforts, o f l i fe . P o o r dwellings, scanry food, unhealthy employments, excessive labor, and entire destitution o f the means and time for educati o n , are appoi n ted for the lower classes, that a few may live in palaces, and riot i n every indulgence.
THE INTERESTS OF AMERICAN
The tendencies o f democratic institutions, i n reference to the rights and i nterests o f the female sex, have been fully developed i n the United States; and i t is in this aspect, that the subject is one of peculiar i n terest to American women. I n this Co untry, it is established, both by opin i o n and by practice, that women have an equal interest in all social and civil concerns; and that no domestic, civil, o r poli tical, institution, is right, that sacrifices her interest to promote that o f the other sex. But i n order to secure her the more firmly i n all these privileges, i t is decided, that, in the domestic relation, she take a subor dinate station, and that, in civil and political concerns, her interests be i ntrusted to the other sex, without her tak ing any part in voting, or in making and administering laws. The result of this order o f things has been fairly tested, and is thus po rtrayed by M . [Alexis] De Tocque ville, a writer, who, for intelligence, fidelity, and ability, ranks second to none.
The following extracts [from Democracy in America] present his views.
O P P O S I N G V I E W P O I N T S I N A M E R I C A N H I S T O R Y
There are people in Europe, who, confounding together the different characteristics of the sexes, would make of man and woman, bei ngs not only equal, but alike. They would give to both the same functions, impose o n both the same duties, and grant to both the same rights. They would mix them in all things,-their business, their occupations, their pleasures. It may readily be conceived, that, by thus attempting to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded; and from so preposterous a medley of the works of Nature, nothing could ever result, but weak men and disorderly women.
It is not thus that the Americans understand the species o f democratic equality, which may be established between the sexes. They admit, that, as Nature has app o i n ted such wide d i fferences between the physical and moral constitutions of man and wom a n , her manifest design was, to give a distinct employment to their various faculties; and they hold, that i m p rove m e n t does not consist i n making beings so dissimilar do pretty nearly the same things, but in getting each o f them to fulfil their respective tasks, in the best possible manner. The Americans have applied to the sexes the great principle of polit ical economy, which governs the man ufactories o f o u r age by carefully dividing the duties o f man from those o f woman, i n o rder that the great work of society may be the better car ried o n .
In no country has such constant care been taken, as in America, to trace two clearly distinct lines of action for the two sexes, and to make them keep pace one with the other, but in two p athways which are always different. American women never manage the outward concerns of the family, or conduct a business, or take a part in political life; nor are they, on the other hand, ever compelled to perform the rough labor of the fields, or to make any of those laborious exer tions, which demand the exertion of physical strength. No families are so poor, as to form an exception to this rule . . . .
As for myself, I do n o t hesitate to avow, that, altho ugh the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, i n some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen women occupying a loftier position; and i f I were asked, now I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important thi ngs done by the Americans, to what the s i ngular prosperity and growing strength of chat people ought mainly to be attrib uted, I should reply,-to the superiority of their women.
Social Reform Issues of the Antebellum Era
WOMEN'S LOFTY POSITION
This testimony o f a foreigner, who has had abundant opportunities of making a comparison, is sanctioned by the assent o f all candid and i ntelligent men, who have enjoyed similar opportunities.
It appears, then, that it i s i n America, alone, that women are raised to an equality with the other sex; and that, both in theory and practice, thei r interests are regarded as o f equal val ue. They are made subordinate i n statio n , only where a regard to the i r best i nterests demands it, while, as if in compensation for this, by cus tom and courtesy, they are always treated as superiors. Universally, i n this Country, through every class of soci ety, precedence i s given to woman, in all the comforts, conveniences, and courtesies, o f life.
I n civil and poli tical affairs, American women take no i n terest or concern, except so far as they sympathize with their family and personal friends; but i n all cases, i n which they do feel a concern, their opinions and feel ings have a consideration, equal, or even superior, to that of the other sex. •
The democratic institutions of this Country . . . have secured to American women a lofty and fortunate position.
I n matters pertai ning to the education of their chil dren, i n the selection and support of a clergyman, in all benevolent enterprises, and i n all questions relating to m o rals or manners, they have a superior i n fl uence. I n a l l such concerns, i t would be impossible t o carry a point contrary to their j udgement and feeli ngs; while an enterprise, sustained by them, will seldom fail o f success.
If those who are bewailing themselves over the fan cied wrongs and i nj u ries of women in this Nation, could only see things as they are, they would know, that, whatever remnants of a barbarous o r aristocratic age may remain i n our civil institutions, i n reference to the interests of women, i t is only because they are igno rant o f it, or do not use their influence to have them rec tified; for it is very certain that there is nothing reasonable which American women wo uld u n i te in asking, that would not readily be bestowed.
The preceding remarks, then, ill ustrate the position that the democratic institutions of this Country . . . tend to place woman in her true position in society, as having equal rights with the other sex; and that, in fact, they have secured to American women a lofty and fortunate posi tion, which, as yet, has been attained by the women of no other nation . . . .
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THE I M PORTANT TASK OF WOMEN
The success of democratic restitutions, as is conceded by all, depends upon the intellectual and moral character o f t h e mass o f t h e people. I f they a r e intelligent and virtu o us , demo cracy is a blessing; but i f they are ignorant and wicked, i t is only a curse, and as much more dreadful than any other form o f civil government, as a thousand tyrants are more to be dreaded than one. I t is equally con ceded, that the formation o f the moral and intellectual character o f the young is committed mainly to the female hand. The mother writes the character o f the future man; the sister bends the fibres that hereafter are the forest tree; the wife sways the heart, whose energies may turn for good or for evil the destinies of a nation. Let the women of a co untry be made virtuous and i ntelligent, and the men will certainly be the same. The proper edu cation o f a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of a whole family are secured.
If this be so, as none will deny, then to American women, more than to any others o n earth, is committed the exalted privilege of extending over the world those blessed i n fl uences, that are to renovate degraded man, and "clothe all climes with beauty."
N o American wo man, then, has any occasion for feeling that hers is an humble or insignificant lot.
V i e w p o i n t 2 5 B Women Hold a Degraded Status in
America (1848) Elizabeth Cady S tanton ( 1 8 1 5 – 1 902) and the Seneca
I NT R O D U C T I O N The Seneca Falls Convention, held on July 1 8-19, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York, was the first public political meeting on women 's rights in the United States. It was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, two abolitionists who had met in 1840 at the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London. There Stanton and the other female delegates were denied participation because of their gender. Stanton and Mott resolved to start a women 's rights movement in the United States; their efforts resulted in the Seneca Falls Convention eight years later. Stanton drafted a Declaration of Sentiments (modeled after America 's 1 776 Declaration of Independence) and a series of resolutions on women s rights. Both the decla ration and the resolutions were debated, reworded slightly, and adopted by the several hundred women and men assembled at Seneca Falls. Alf resolutions save one were passed unanimously; the resolution for wom en s suffrage passed by only a narrow margin.
What examples of female oppression does Stanton pro vide? judging .from the contents of viewpoints 25A,
which points of the Seneca Falls Declaration might Catharine E. Beecher, author of the opposing view point, agree with? Which would she most oppose?
When, i n the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion o f the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have h i therto occupied, b u t one to which the laws of nature and of nature's G o d entitle them, a decent respect to the o p i n i o ns of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit o f happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their j us t powers from the consent o f the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, i t is the right o f those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such prin ciples, and organizing its powers i n such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. P r udence, indeed, will dictate that governments l o ng established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and acco rdingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are suf ferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, p u rs u i n g invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, i t is their duty to throw o ff such government, and to p rovide new guards fo r their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which con strains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.
The history o f mankind is a history of repeated inj uries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, hav ing in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyr anny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
H e has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
He has compelled her to submit to laws, i n the for mation of which she had no voice.
H e has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men-both natives and foreigners.
From History of If/omen Suffrage, vol. I , edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan. B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (New York: Fowler & Wells. 1 88 1 ).
O P P O S I N G V I E W P O I N T S I N A M E R I C A N H I S T O R Y
Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representa tion in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
H e has made her, i f married, i n the eye of the law, civilly dead.
H e has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
H e has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can com m i t many crimes with i m p un i ty, p rovided they be done i n the p resence o f her husband. I n the cov enant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master-the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.
He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes, and in case of separation, to whom the guardianship o f the children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless o f the happiness o f women-the law i n all cases, going upon a false supposition o f the suprem acy of man, and giving all power into his hands.
After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single, and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
H e has monopolized nearly all the profitable employ ments, and from those she is permi tted to follow, she receives b u t a scanty rem unerati o n . H e closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher o f the ology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
H e has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thor ough education, all colleges being closed against her.
He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a sub ordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the m i n istry, and, with some excep tions, from any public participation i n the affairs o f the Church.
He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated, but deemed of little account i n man.
Women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of
their most sacred rights.
He has usurped the prerogative o f Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.
Social Reform Issues of the Antebellum Era
He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence i n her own powers, to lessen her self-respect and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject l i fe.
Now, in view o f this entire disfranchisement of one half the people o f this country, their social and religious degradation-i n view of the unjust laws above men tioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and p rivileges which belong to them as citizens o f the United States.
I n entering upon the great work before us, we antici pate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the S tate and National legisla tures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series o f Conventions embracing every part of the country.
Whereas, The great precept o f nature is conceded to be, that "man shall pursue his own true and substantial hap piness." [William) Blackstone i n his Commentaries [on the Laws of England'J remarks, that this law o f Nature being coeval with mankind, and d ictated by God himself, is of course superior i n obligation to any other. I t is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all times; no human laws are o f any validity i f con trary to this, and such o f them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and imme diately, from this original; therefore,
Resolved, That such laws as conflict, i n any way with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature and of no validity, for this is "superior i n obligation to any other."
Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station i n society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that o f man, are contrary to the great precept o f nature, and therefore of no force or authority.
Resolved, That woman is man's equal-was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such.
Resolved, That the women o f this country ought to be enlightened i n regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer p ublish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.
Resolved, That inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellectual superiority, does accord to woman
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moral superiority, it is pre-eminently his duty to encour age her to speak and teach, as she has an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.
Resolved, That the same amount o f virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior that is req u i red of woman in the social state, should also be required o f man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal sever ity on both man and woman.
Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impro priety, which is so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, comes with a very ill-grace from those who encourage, by their attendance, her appear ance on the stage, in the concert, or in feats of the circus.
Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied i n t h e circumscribed l i m i ts which corrupt customs a n d a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out fo r her, and that i t is time she should move i n the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.
Resolved, That i t is the duty of the wo men o f this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.
Resolved, That the equality o f human rights results necessarily from the fact o f the identity o f the race in capabilities and responsibilities.
Resolved, therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the same capabil ities, and the same con sciousness o f responsibility for their exercise, i t is demon strably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, i t is self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both i n private and in pub lic, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities proper to b e used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this being a self-evident truth growing o u t o f t h e divinely implanted principles o f human nature, any custom or authority adverse to it, whether modern o r wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is t o be regarded as a self-evident falsehood, and at war with mankind.
Resolved, That the speedy s u ccess o f our cause depends upon the zealous and untiring efforts o f both men and women, for the overthrow of the monopoly of the pulpit, and for the securing to women an equal par ticipation with men i n the various trades, professions, and commerce.
FOR F URTHER READING
Virginia Bernhard and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, eds., The Birth of American Feminism: The Seneca Falls Woman '.r Convention of 1848. St. James, NY: Brandywine Press, 1 99 5 .
Jeanne Boydston e t al., The Limits of Sisterhood: the Beecher Sisters and Women '.r Rights and the Women '.r Sphere. Chapel Hill: Universiry of North Carolina Press, 1 98 8 .
Jeff Hill, Women s Suffrage. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2006.
Judirh Wellman, The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Woman's Rights Convention. Urbana: Universiry of Illinois Press, 2004.
Barbara Anne White, The Beecher Sisters. New Haven, CT: Yale Universiry Press, 2003.
O P P O S I N G V I E W P O I N T S I N A M E R I C A N H I S T O R Y 1 26
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