HIST 2111- PERSUASIVE ESSAY FD

HIST 2111- PERSUASIVE ESSAY FD - Can't Hold Us Down: The...

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Can’t Hold Us Down: Women’s Rights Movement Krystal Horne HIST 2111-09 U.S. History I (to 1865) Prof. Terry Randolph 2 April 2008
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Horne Krystal Horne Persuasive Essay HIST 2111-09 Prof. Terry Randolph 2 April 2008 They say that behind every great man is an even greater woman. However, to truly understand the significant change in the role of women, one must understand its roots and its roles. The Women’s Rights Movement was the result of many years of gender-based segregation from every aspect of life outside the sphere of what was socially and culturally expected of them. Traditionally, women were seen as the “June Cleavers” of colonial America, the “the less important and weaker sex”—whose place and main existence was strictly based in the home. In a sense, they were the domestic slaves; the invisible of man—whose duty was to take care of the house, to cook and clean, and to produce and take care of the children. They had not other existence—physical, legal, or otherwise outside those familial roles. The Women’s Rights Movement was not only striving for the equal rights of women, but also were striving for the right to have their voice heard— and most importantly, the right to vote. Although the 15 th Amendment ensured voting rights for all “citizens of the United States” regardless of race or color, women were still gender-dominated and excluded from the domain of education, the workplace (as defined outside the home), and even the political process. It is because of this biased disproportion and uncivilized, slave-like treatment, that the Women’s Rights Movement was born. Men were seen as the dominant, important sex. They were (and in some cases) still are the breadwinners of the household. They were the ones to hold a place in society, have an opinion, and ultimately have a voice. For the most part, because of gender and cultural standards, women were the “slightly better” treated slaves compared to that of African-American ones. Women were seen as unintelligent beings whose domestic obligations included playing the passive damsel in distress, catering to every man’s need—at the cost of themselves and who they would (or could) become. Mary Wollstonecraft, author of “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”, argued this very thing—in which, she states that powerful, well-educated, women would do well in society instead of wasting away being subservient to men: Dismissing, then, those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind, exquisite sensibility, and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to show that elegance is inferior to virtue, that the first object of 2
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Horne laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex…nature has given woman a weaker
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HIST 2111- PERSUASIVE ESSAY FD - Can't Hold Us Down: The...

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