The Women's Movement of the 19th Century | Free Essay Example

The Women’s Movement of the 19th Century

Words: 865
Topic: History


The Women’s Movement of the 19th century influenced women’s history significantly while changing the social patterns and the distribution of the rights according to the principles of equality. The figures for Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton play the most important role in the process.

The Women’s Movement Discussion

The Women’s Movement of the 19th century is important to be discussed in detail because it influenced the social, political, and gender models significantly while providing the paths for the following Feminism and Women’s Rights waves in the 20th century. That is why, to focus on the complex picture of the movement’s development, it is necessary to refer to the stories of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as well as to the researchers’ visions of the issue.

Even though Anthony and Stanton were different about their marital status and temperament, both the women saw that it was important to provide the women with new opportunities for personal development. As a result, these women embarked the effective partnership, developed the principles of suffrage, and established the American Equal Rights Association (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.). Anthony and Stanton focused on the protection of the married women’s rights because these women seemed to be vulnerable in the situations of the lack of education and property. The mental hunger and the revolutionary ideas made Anthony and Stanton develop their potential and struggle for women’s rights at many levels while proposing the ways to overcome families’ poverty and violence. Anthony and Stanton made many efforts to provide the women with property, income, and rights equal to men’s ones in many cases. The women’s social and political equality became Anthony and Stanton’s main goal (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.).

In the article “Cult of True Womanhood,” Jeanne Boydston states that the behaviors and roles of the nineteenth-century women were strictly influenced by the specific idea known as the ‘cult of true womanhood’ according to which women should perform only female roles in the family and society. However, the second part of the nineteenth century demonstrates that many women violated the pattern — the figures for Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton can be discussed as the most vivid examples of the pattern’s violation. The ‘cult’ was full of paradoxes because it was related only to the middle-class white women when African-American women continued to work hard in spite of the social patterns.

Following the article’s arguments, it is possible to note that the focus on the ‘cult’ was important only for men because the real situation in the society could not be discussed with references to the proposed pattern. Many women followed the example of Anthony and Stanton and shared the ideas of social and political equality. Furthermore, many women rejected the standard focus on marriages and household activities while founding charitable institutions and developing their social activities (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.). That is why the idea of the ‘cult of true womanhood’ cannot be used to describe the real situation in the society of the nineteenth century.

In her article “Abolition & Suffrage,” Nancy A. Hewitt states that the promoters of the women’s rights also supported the idea of abolition as the statement of the people’s equality. However, the abolitionists were not so active in supporting women’s rights. It is important to note that the situation was caused by the impact of the idea that women were not appropriate for participating in social and political life. The distinctive role in changing these opinions was played by Stanton and Anthony, who founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. Much attention was paid to the activities oriented to changing the public’s vision of the women’s status. The female developers of the Women’s Movement were not as biased in their visions as the abolitionists (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.). That is why the ideas of abolition were promoted by women, along with the principles of suffrage.

To understand the role of the Women’s Movement of the 19th century for the society’s development today, it is necessary to refer to the opinions of the women who experienced the first results of the nineteenth-century Women’s Movement. Thus, Mary Myers states in her interview that women should have the right to vote because women are important for society due to their ability to see significant things. Moreover, according to Myers, women should work to develop social contacts and to have the opportunity to do something outside the house. Such activities help women develop and socialize effectively (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.).

The similar ideas are formulated by Angela Fanto, but the woman also claims that the females should remember that the marriage is also a business, and a woman should make many efforts to control the marriage as a business, the households, and the real business outside the home. Fanto pays attention to the fact that women have the responsibility to control the household in spite of their social role because it is a kind of their business (Not for Ourselves Alone, n.d.).

The discussion of the Women’s Movement of the 19th century is a good opportunity to understand the origins of female rights today and to analyze the movement’s results.


Not for Ourselves Alone. (n.d.). Web.