Feminism In The 1800s

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The Facets of Early American Feminism
The word “feminism” carries many controversial connotations. Feminism in America, though preceded by Europe, began around the early 1800’s. As the Civil War brought hope for the growth of opportunities for black slaves, other social movements were also able to gain footing. This idea of feminism actually planted the seed for growth of women’s rights and gender equality through the years. 19th-century feminism in America paved the way for the advancement of women 's rights for future generations.
Feminism is defined as, “both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms” (Haslanger). Women in the 1800’s were often treated as property,
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Each of these major leaders stood for and exemplified some of the core beliefs of feminism. Arguably the most notable of these women was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton’s actions and beliefs truly shaped 19th-century feminism. Stanton believed in the right of women to divorce their husbands and be provided marital protection, equal legal rights between men and women, women’s right to vote, women’s right to property in her own name, and equal opportunities between men and women in the workplace (Gordon). Stanton argued for suffragette by stating that women’s opinions were not being represented in society and therefore women should be represented (Gordon). Stanton’s activism was further intensified when she met Susan B. Anthony and was able to tie her belief in feminism into Anthony’s belief in temperance. Anthony and Stanton used their positions in society to work together to ensure more law of protection and rights for women. (Gordon). With the help of Anthony, Stanton was able to push revisions in legislation in 1860 to protect the rights and interests of women (Gordon). Stanton also helped organize one of the most influential events for 19th-century feminism- the Seneca Falls Convention (Gordon). Once the Civil War began and the country needed to focus more on survival and less on social issues, Stanton helped organize reconstruction in the North and allowed women to be more involved in the war through the Women 's …show more content…
Fuller was raised with a highly religious primary education in Massachusetts (Norton). Fuller, unable to attend Harvard due to her gender, read extensively and became fluent in French, Greek, Latin, German, and Italian (Norton). Fuller’s feminism took form in many seminars she offered for women to educate themselves and learn to love intellectual discussion. She asked the women who attended these lectures philosophical questions and used the Socratic method to engage her listeners (Norton). Often she ended these talks by adding her opinions into them. Fuller’s greatest achievement was her career as an author. Fuller wrote the first feminist writing in the Western Hemisphere entitled Women in the Nineteenth Century, in which she addressed the deep, morally wrong gap between men and women in America. Fuller was deeply against gender roles and the over-feminization of women into frail, weak, and dainty creatures that needed men to make them worth anything. In Women in the Nineteenth Century, Fuller writes,
Meanwhile not few believe (...) that the time is come when Orpheus is to call for an Eurydice, rather than Eurydice for an Orpheus: that the idea of man, however imperfectly brought out, has been far more so than a Woman, that she (...) needs now to take her turn in the full pulsation, and that improvement in the daughters will best aid the the reformation of the sons of this age. (Fuller

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