Education During The Antebellum Era

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During the antebellum period of the United States, different policies and political agendas were laid out to create a country that aspired to be better than the one from which it claimed its independence. The discussion of education began then, in hopes to create a more nationalistic society and to instill individual thought so that tyranny would never be able to take control. Education for who though, is where things began to get a little blurry. Most education in this time period began as disorganized and personal. Studying abroad was becoming unpatriotic—why send your children to other countries, when they could stay in the States so that they could learn to love their own country. So education became more domestic, but also more expensive.…show more content…
For the most part, women were receiving education up to the elementary level. Advocates for women’s rights to education rose up and soon, teaching became a feminine job and a wide arrange of seminaries and academies for young ladies were built. This boom in education for both genders happened during the years leading up to the Woman Suffrage Movement in 1848, where those in support of women’s suffrage gathered in Seneca Falls, New York to pass a resolution that gave women the right to vote. So the question is asked: did women’s rights to education lead up to their suffrage? Women’s Education in the United States by Margaret A. Nash gives insight into how women’s education came about and what its purpose was. Many supporters of women’s education were opposed to women rising as social or political equals of their male counterparts. The rationalization of women’s rights to education were based on religion and sexism rather than gender equality as a whole. Even popular advocates discouraged women leaving their current social-spheres. Because of this, higher education was not a leading cause of the woman suffrage…show more content…
Three of the most popular supporters were women by the name of Emma Willard, Catherine Beecher, and Mary Lyon. These women advocated for gender equality in education, opened up higher level schools for females, and taught. Even though they were very active in the pursuit of educational equality between men and women, they were not avid supporters for overall social and political gender equality. In fact, most of them were strong believers in the social-spheres separating women and men. Emma Willard was possibly the most complicated of the three in regards to her notions on women’s social roles. She used women’s current social standing as dutiful mothers to propel her argument for state funded education to include women’s learning. She opened the Troy Female Seminary where she created a similar curriculum for women as was being taught to men at that time. Even though she was trying to create an equal environment for learning, she also added in needlework classes “to reassure parents and the public generally that she did not intend for women to renounce their own station” (106-107). Another supporter was the daughter of well-known minister, Catherine Beecher. A strong advocate for feminizing the occupation of teaching, she believed that women were the intellectual equals of men. That was as far as the equality really extended in her opinion, though. Beecher believed
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