Married Mothers Analysis

1841 Words8 Pages
Although the Declaration of Independence advocated for a society with equality and basic rights for all humans, the newly created America of the 17th and 18th centuries seemed to forget about giving rights to a large group of people: women. Women were expected to behave in a specific way, facing harsh judgement if they strayed, and their actions were mostly limited to the home. The expectations placed on women’s behavior, which were decided by men, included being obedient and controlling their emotions so they would not bother their husbands. The extent of most women’s education was learning how to care for a household, and there were few places women could go for enjoyment, lessening their quality of life. However, some women, such as Abigail…show more content…
Works by Dr. Samuel Jennings show the extent to which the rights of women were restricted in American society. In “The Married Lady’s Companion”, Jennings speaks directly to the wife and informs her of how she must behave around her husband. His suggestions range from “…you ought to cultivate a cheerful and happy submission…” to “As you regard your own bliss, speedily check all thoughts of this kind… If indulged, they will have bainful effect upon your temper,” (Jennings). The first suggests that women must accept their subservience to men, and the second furthers this claim by informing women that their pursuit of happiness would only worsen their attitude. Jennings goes on to say that this attitude would cause husbands to be driven away from their wives, which only supports the idea that women were there to serve their husbands. Professor Hendrick Hartog discusses the specific exclusion from enfranchisement in his essay, “The Constitution of Aspirations and ‘The Rights that Belong to us All’”. He states, “Without the ballot, women remained vulnerable and dependent, less than autonomous individuals,” a statement that both targets a specific right women lack and explains the results of their disenfranchisement (Hartog 1025). The vocabulary used in the quote portrays women as being subservient and relying on their
Open Document