Antebellum Women Pious Middle-Class Term Paper

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Antebellum Women

Pious middle-class women in the Northeast, slave women in the South, and Lowell, Massachusetts "mill girls" were raised in entirely different cultural environments. Their experiences of sisterhood therefore differed significantly, raising issues related to the role of women in their respective milieus. Socialization of women in antebellum America depended largely on social status. At the same time, pious women in the Northeast, Lowell "mill girls" and slave women in the South all experienced sexist social norms and gender biases. Sisterhood enabled women in each of these three distinct cultural environments to mitigate patriarchy.

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Slave women faced extraordinarily brutal circumstances due directly to the institution of slavery. In some ways, slave women were more equal to slave men than free women were to free men because the scourge of slavery affected Black men as well as Black women. However, slave women in the antebellum south experienced bondage differently than men, necessitating sisterhood as a coping mechanism men simply did not have access to. For one, slave women were often raped by their masters. As if the rape alone was not brutal enough, the slave women were often impregnated and forced to bear a child the master would disown. The master's wife, if she suspected that her husband was the father of the child, could cause problems for the slave woman too: showing how females from different social status groups clashed more fiercely than men and women from the same social class. The children of slave women, whether they were fathered by rapist masters or not, were often taken away from their mothers. Being torn apart from children and family was a common experience for all slaves. Yet enslaved mothers were not often able to bond with each other. Their subjugated social status meant that friendships as well as families could be torn apart as soon as one person was sold to a different master. Competition between slave women was also possible, especially when a plantation employed more than one domestic slave.

Term Paper on Antebellum Women Pious Middle-Class Women in the Assignment

Middle class pious women living in the Northeast experienced radically different social circumstances. Like their sisters in almost every other social group in America at the time, women in the Northeast were often forced into marriages, denied the right to education, and were especially left out of important political and economic decisions that governed society. As a result, women in the Northeast found solace in sisterhood. Pious women bonded on religious issues, often pointing to their husbands as symbols of moral decay in America. Temperance movements were almost entirely started and maintained by women frustrated with their husbands' drinking. Being unable to vote in political elections meant that the pious women of the Northeast turned to grassroots politics as a form of social bonding. Their groups and clubs became social events as much as they were attempts… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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