AP American History
Women’s Role in Society
During the early 1800's women were stuck in the Cult of Domesticity. Women had been issued roles as the moral keepers for societies as well as the nonworking house-wives for families. Also, women were considered unequal to their male companions legally and socially. However, women’s efforts during the 1800’s were effective in challenging traditional intellectual, social, economical, and political attitudes about a women’s place in society.
The foundation of colleges for women as well as events at women’s rights conventions intellectually challenged society’s views on women’s traditional roles. As education became more of a public governmental service, the educational opportunities for women began to increase. Emma Williard, founder of the Women’s seminary in New York, created the Oberlin College. This college was the first college that was open to women as well as men creating the first opportunity for women in America to gain an advanced education. Years later, Mary Lyon founded the all female college called Mt. Holyoke College. This changed America by not only providing an advanced education for American women, but also led to more colleges opening their doors to women. Another significant event for women’s rights was when Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the first women’s rights convention in 1848 and created the Declaration of Sentiments. This event instructed women that they were equal to men and inspired many people to feel the same. The creation of women’s colleges as well as the organized event for women’s rights were very effective in changing the roles of women in the minds of Americans.
Women’s rights activists influenced the nation to believe that women were men’s equals, changing traditional women social roles. During the 1800’s a husband had legal authority over their wife. In a sense, he owned her, and for that reason women had little respect in their culture. However, as women pursued their cause for equal rights, many men began to see women as their equals. This gained them greater respect within their culture. An example of one of the social changes that occurred because of women’s rights movements was when Lucy Stone kept her maiden name even after she became...