Domesticity in 19th Century White Middle Class America Essay

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Domesticity in 19th Century White Middle Class America

The nineteenth century marked a turning point for women in the United States. As men took work outside of the home women were left to cultivate a place that could serve as a haven from the harsh outside world. This change created a domestic sphere ru d by women; it paramounted from simple household organization to matters involving moral and religious responsibility, health, education, and social duty. Women found power in their new role; they found equality with their male counterparts without com ting against them. The industrial revolution changed the way Americans worked. Men pursued jobs outside of the home. They performed hard labor such as; mining, construction,
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These manuals approached everything from child care to building a house. They began to bridge the space between what was expected of women and the resources that were available o carry out those expectations. Catherine's book was unique in that it associated psychology with all aspects of domesticity (Sklar 152). Catherine was able to insert her own strong opinions about the superiority of the domestic sphere, while still providing a detailed instruction o how to carry out household tasks. For many women the manuals written by Catherine Beecher and the authors of her time were life saving. Lack of adequate information about domestic responsibilities could overwhelm a young wife and mother, causing them to give up and become depressed (S ar 153). This happened to Catherine's own mother who was thrust into domestic isolation with little contact with family and friends (Sklar 6). These manuals gave an alternative to oral instruction. Catherine's book specifically gave an added explanat n of how important the woman's role was; allowing women to take pride in their sphere giving them a sense of their own necessity in the world. Self esteem plays a major role in the changes brought about in the nineteenth century. White middle class women were considered subordinate to men out of necessity for the greater good of society. Their opinions, although valued, were
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