The Role of Women After the American Revolution

2034 WordsJul 13, 20189 Pages
The American Revolution, which happened during the last half of the eighteenth century, reshaped many aspects of life in America. The desire of the Founding Fathers to make America a republic played a very significant part in changing the role of women after the Revolution. The role of women as wives became more important as an emphasis on virtue was established; women were encouraged to find virtuous husbands and utilize their seductive nature to keep men virtuous. The roles of women as mothers also became more important in the republic, as patriarchy loosened and mothers were depended on to educate their children in the republican way. And finally, the role of women in politics was theoretically reduced due to the increasing demands of…show more content…
However, all of these positive changes did not mean that man and wife were equal, and the domestic situation did not only improve for the republican wife. According to Lewis, republican marriage had symmetry between the husband and wife, as Republicanism theoretically avoided conflict , but did not have equality. They were considered opposite sides of the same coin, or two halves making a whole. For example, when the husband was unfaithful to his wife, in many cases the wife would simply forgive him through expression of her faithfulness and love and even embrace any illegitimate children in order to keep her republican virtuous reputation . When conflict arose between a man and his wife, it was expected that the wife would bend and preserve peace in her home. Being a wife was not the only role that women possessed in their households, as being a wife often came hand-in-hand with being a mother. According to Linda Kerber, the model republican woman was a mother. Kerber gives the definition of a republican mother as: “[A] mother … should play a political role through the raising of a patriotic child. The Republican Mother was to encourage in her sons civic interest and participation. She was to educate her children and guide them in the paths of morality and virtue.” As seen in the quote, the creation of virtuous citizens in the republic depended on mothers since they were expected to educate
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