An essay I wrote for my college U.S.before 1865 class.
American society goes through and continues to go through many changes since its founding. None are clearer than fighting for the rights of particular groups of people. One such group was the fight for feminine rights in the antebellum (pre-civil war) period in American society.
To begin with, there were two sides to the fight for feminine rights in this antebellum period one was the conservative women and the others were the liberal women. Both groups wanted to uplift women in American society but, that is where the similarities end for these two groups. The conservatives wanted to do it within their own little world so to speak. The liberals however believed that women should be equal to men in many ways.
Next, for one to understand this one must examine the viewpoints of the two women who were clearly connected to one or the other groups. First, is Catharine Beecher who grew up in one of the most illustrious families in the early American Republic and her father told her constantly to prepare to pretty much take a role as a house wife but, after her fiancé died she did nothing of the sort and sought to uplift women from learning how to be better wives and build a feminine institute. Catharine was a conservative who sought to uplift women and give them the knowledge to start a movement to fight the moral decline that was occurring but, her movement would be led by women instead of the ones already in place led by men. This is what she means by uplifting women in their own sort of feminine sphere as some would refer to it. Furthermore, is Elizabeth Cady Stanton who like Catharine was born in a fairly wealthy conservative family who suffered loss after loss as their sons kept dying and that is when Elizabeth only a young child vowed to be the son her father never had and in becoming more manly by studying things only men did she saw the corruption in the law and how unfairly women were treated. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a liberal who witnessed first-hand the unfair treatment of women when one of her father’s servants lost her husband and wanted to claim the land but, since women had no say and were not even allowed to testify in court her father could not do anything for her. Later on Elizabeth met her future husband Henry Stanton where the two of them wed before he had to leave to London for an anti-slavery convention where Elizabeth witnessed again women being treated as nothing more than man’s property when she and other women were forced to wait outside in a waiting room while the conference took place and they were not allowed to speak. Elizabeth believed that women should be uplifted in society and be equal to men. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the main organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention which was held to start pushing for equal rights for women in American society. Both women for mentioned were similar in that both grew up in similar conditions and both wanted to fight for an uplifting of women be it in different ways but, that is where the similarities end for these two.