Slaves And American Women During The 1800s

1735 WordsApr 4, 20177 Pages
Slaves and American Women Most African Americans were enslaved in the 1800s in America, especially in the south. This time period was also a time when women were not receiving adequate rights compared to men. Abolitionists, those working to end slavery, began coming together to fight the evils of slavery. Fredrick Douglass, a runaway slave, formed a new life after escaping by giving talks, working to abolish slavery, and writing a narrative of his whole life that he got published to help the movement to abolish slavery. In 1837, Sarah M. Grimke wrote, “Legal Disabilities of Women” which compared women 's rights to those of a slave. Sarah Grimke compared white American married women to slaves because she was infuriated with some laws that…show more content…
Sarah Grimke writes, “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law; that is, the very being, or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband under whose wing, protection and cover she performs everything” (Grimke 1). What Grimke is explaining is that the man would take control of everything that the woman owned after marriage and they became one person, but the man had all the power to do what he wanted with what they owned, even whatever the female owned before they became married. In both senses, slaves and women were being “absorbed” by the master or husband as he took complete control over them and what they owned. Another similarity between slaves and married white women was the cruel way that they were spoken to, they were both disrespected. Slave overseers often treated the slaves with much disrespect and cruelty to scare them and keep them in order. Grimke points out that “The slaveholder does kill his slave by moderate correction, as the law allows; and many a husband, among the poor, exercises the right given him by the law, of degrading women by personal chastisement” (Grimke 3). Men felt a sense of authority over both slaves and women to talk down on them in order to feel more powerful. Lastly, Women and slaves were similar in that they both
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