The Rise Of The 19th Century Essay example

1303 Words 6 Pages
The 19th century was a period of change for women of all classes and ethnic backgrounds. As the nations economy grew and changed so to did the roles that women had grown accustomed to during colonial times. Middle class Americans had rising incomes, expectations, and living standards (Woloch, 2002, p. 71). While for the working-class, employment was precarious and only a thin line separated the “respectable” or “worthy” poor from the destitute (Woloch, 2002, p. 95). The Doctrine of ‘women’s sphere’ reflected changes in these middle class home (Woloch, 2002, p. 71).
With the emergence of a middle class in the early 19th century, “home” became a private retreat from the world and a refuge from commercial life, where women stepped into roles once held by men. The role of a wife in the emerging middle class was to remain at home and care for her family while her husband worked outside of the home. This was a distinct change from colonial days when most families resided on farms and worked the farm as a unit to sustain their families (Woloch, 2002, p. 72). Unfortunately, achieving and holding onto middle class respectability was a precarious prospect for families as incomes reflected the economy and faced potential downturns around every corner.
A woman’s influence did not increase if a family was poor or if she was not attached to a dependable, income producing man. Women especially faced a special insecurity, for without male support they were ten times more likely to descend…

Related Documents