Hamilton's Refutation in Women's Wrongs of Todd's Major Points in Women's Rights: An Analysis

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Women's rights was a very popular topic midway through the 19th century, and continued to be so until there was a degree of full parity between the sexes established in contemporary social, political and economic life in the 20th century. However, there were a number of dissidents who believed that women should not be treated equally as men in the 19th century, one of the most eloquent of which was Revered John Todd in his manuscript Women's Rights. The crux of the author's argument is that God did not intend for women to be independent, and therefore they were physically constructed in a manner in which true emancipation from the influence of men is impossible. Many of Todd's points to corroborate these facts are directly challenged by Gail Hamilton in her work of literature entitled Women's Wrongs. An analysis of excerpts from both of these texts indicates that Hamilton's refutation of Todd's major points is more convincing than those actual points themselves. Hamilton's most efficacious point of refutation directly contradicts Todd's notion about the physical limitations of women. This supposed circumscription is one of the chief reasons that the latter believes that women should not only be denied independence from men, but also be denied rights that would allow them to do so. Todd would have readers believe that it is the woman's insufficient physical prowess and "bodily organization" that "cannot endure the pressure of continued and long labor as we can" (Todd). The

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