The American Women were voiceless, they had no say in society, however the reform movement would change that. Married women had very little rights compared to husband. One major human right violation was women 's lack of property rights.. Even if the property belonged to their family, once they were married that land became their husbands. In divorce and custody battles, mostly favored the husband.
Many people have heard that women in the seventeenth century had little to no rights, and that would be almost correct. In Amsterdam, women had more rights than most of the women in Europe at the time, which really, was not much. An unmarried woman had more freedoms than their married counterparts, but being unmarried in this century still had downfalls. If an unmarried woman never wed or had children in her lifetime many people considered it to be a waste of her life. An unmarried woman was allowed her own property and businesses but if she was to ever marry, then the husband would assume ownership of it all.
They did not have representation politically, then had no virtually no voice. Women also no rights over property, and no way of initiating a divorce. Only men at that could ask for a divorce, in which men were always given custody of the children. The other argument here is that women do not are disenfranchised from offering their skills to society. As the document points out nearly half the population was not being allowed to
Men held their normal ego and expectations of themselves but woman were looked at differently, unlike Europe where they were the weaker of the two sex. Woman in colonial America were short in number and therefor highly valued. Living conditions for them were not great as well. There was no heat, no running water, they had no toilets, and lighting was dim. If they wanted to go somewhere it was rough because there were no roads.
“Women could not vote, serve on juries, or hold public office.” (Evans) “The fourteenth amendment guarantees equal protection under law” (Evans), women were not identified as a person, so they were not covered under this protection. In the novel, “One foot in Eden”, Amy was a wife during this time period of the early 1900’s. She had no rights as a person, and her only identity was that of her husbands. There was about to be major change in women’s right’s later on in the 20th century, such as, women’s right to vote, being able to have a job other than a quote, “stay at home mom”, they also were able to have a voice in a world solely ruled by men. “The expansion of women’s education, and women’s move into a wide variety of reform efforts and professions laid the ground for a massive suffrage movement that demanded the most basic right of citizenship for women.” (Evans) The Women’s Suffrage movement made way for women to have rights, just like every man in this world at this time.
They could not attend, vote, or speak in any political meetings, nor could they hold any sort of office. However, some women did have some influence in political affairs due to having husbands involved in politics (Cartwright). Some women were allowed more freedom than others, but it was still very limited. Women received little to no education. If they did receive an education, it was a very basic one.
For example, back then women had just been allowed to vote. This was a huge change for that time, and changed the course of history. Also, wives could not own a property; it all belonged to their husbands. Today, women have fought for, and acquired much more freedom in regards to rights and freedoms, such as being allowed to vote, being allowed to own property, and having more power over their own decisions. Thirdly, most wives in the late 19th-20th century didn’t have much of an education, because they were forced to stay home and take care of domestic tasks.
Women did anything and everything in their power to contribute to their causes. During the time of the civil war women were banned from fighting. Being a soldier was seen as a man’s job and not a role for a lady to do. In general women’s role at this time was to take care of the children, clean the house and cook for the family. Most women didn’t have jobs unless they were a school teacher or as domestic servant, but once they got married they were expected to no longer work.
Adding on to other limitations, women almost had no freedom in their marriage. Before the women’s rights movement, when a woman is married the “husband and wife are one person” but “that person is the husband” (Doc 7). Once a woman is married, her rights and property were governed by the husband. Married women could not make wills or dispose of any property without their husband’s consent to do so. This showed that they were invisible even in their marriage, The women’s movement promoted the support which eventually resulted in the Married Women’s Property Act.
The plantation owners (normally rich white men) relied on their wife, daughters and a person of color (normally a Native American/African American person) to do their work for them to work and manage while the owners were gone. One of the most remarkable women of this time was a woman named Margaret Brent. In America’s Women, Collins states: “Virtually all the colonial women wanted to marry but when they did, they were automatically stripped of their legal rights. Brent was an unmarried woman who “virtually ran the colony of Maryland during a crisis” (12). Brent and her sister were unmarried, so they could own all the land that they wanted.