In The Nineteenth Century, Middle Class White Men Had The

Good Essays

In the nineteenth century, middle class white men had the most sexual, financial, and political freedom. The role that men played in society grew during the industrial period, as white families in the middle class no longer needed to rely solely on farms to make money; they had other options for work, with factories beginning to appear all over. White men could also travel to the frontier communities or join a political career. They were also the only ones able to vote at the time. The role of women in middle class families also grew as there was a greater need to control sexuality. In the early nineteenth century, however, sex was seen as impure and a waste of energy. Women were put on a pedestal of purity and were told that the woman …show more content…

Premarital pregnancy rates were particularly high in rural and frontier areas, continuing throughout the nineteenth century. Courtship became much more popular in the nineteenth century as men and women began to leave their domestic spheres and interact with other members of their community. Southern people courted after church and western people courted after community events, such as holiday or harvest celebrations, and urban working class youth courted on the job as well. The act of courtship facilitated romantic love becoming a norm, as flirting became a norm wherever there was sexual integration. The idea of marrying for romance impacted sexuality, and having recreational sex. Many couples from the nineteenth century wrote in their diaries the intense urge they felt to have sex with their significant other, although not all of them acted on the urge. The idea that sex and reproduction didn’t have to go hand-in-hand was what caused people to actively control their sexuality with various methods of birth control. As these ideas spread throughout the country, different regions, races, and classes had different ways of controlling their sexuality. Fertility rates dropped throughout the country in rural and urban areas, but remained high in frontier communities. However, many southern states didn’t care for controlling sexuality, since there were many farmers making their living off the land. The larger the family was, the more land they could work on at a time,

Get Access