Women after the American Revolution

1948 Words8 Pages
The desire of the Founding Fathers to make America a successful republic played a significant part in changing the many roles that women found themselves in after the Revolution. The role of women as wives became more important as republican ideals established an emphasis on marriage. Society saw marriage as a miniature representation of a republic. Therefore, republican ideals like independence and the freedom from arbitrary power allowed women as wives more value and power within their families. The roles of women as mothers also became more important in the republic, as patriarchy loosened and the nation depended on mothers to educate American children in the republican way. And finally, the role of women in politics was theoretically…show more content…
According to Lewis, republican marriage had symmetry between the husband and wife, as Republicanism theoretically avoided conflict , but did not have equality. The husband and the wife were opposite sides of the same coin, or two halves making a whole. For example, when the husband was unfaithful to his wife, she often simply forgave him through expression of her faithfulness and love. In some cases, wives even embraced any illegitimate children to keep their virtuous republican reputation . When conflict arose between a man and his wife, everyone expected the wife to 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 with being a mother. According to Linda Kerber, the model republican woman was a mother. “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, creating virtuous citizens in the republic depended on mothers since they were expected to educate their children. “Mothers do, in a sense, hold the reins of government and sway the ensigns of national prosperity and glory,” said Reverend William Lyman, attesting to how important the mother as an educator was. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, along with many other scholars, believed that children quickly outgrew their dependence on their fathers . For that reason, child-rearing
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