Women In The Gilded Age

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In the Gilded Age, women morphed from domestic slaves to emergent clerical workers; however, the long-standing stigma about what was meant to be a true woman held back progressive thinkers. Women felt this oppression through societal structure, religious beliefs, and unequal treatment under law. By definition, the true woman was one that was an angel for domestic paradise. They cooked, cleaned, took care of the children, and were at their husband's beckon call every waking moment. In the emerging progressive age, the first modern feminists, called the new women, were the upper and middle class women who extended greater influence in politics, economy, and other life far beyond the domestic sphere. Women in early 1900s America felt the silent …show more content…

Religion was core in American values in the early 1900s following the first and second Great Awakenings which strengthened Protestantism, so when religion was used to justify silencing women, it reached a wide audience. For example, Orestes A. Brownson defined a “Woman’s Sphere” in 1873 by using a variety of divine laws to justify how women are too incompetent to be progressive workers, or anything outside of being “a wife and a mother”, for that matter. Brownson further uses religious justification to oppress women in stating that it was women who brought mankind down in the Garden of Eden by eating the poison apple which caused humans to eternally be sinful and imperfect. He uses this old parable to illustrate how women are the root of sin and deceit. He also explains that God blessed women with “patience, endurance, passive courage… [and] great administrative ability” which qualifies a woman only “to take care of children”. This religious justification was what confined women to the home because, to some, it proved that women were too sinful and reckless to be allowed out of the house, and were too well equipped to care for domestic life to leave (Document

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