Chapter 6 of A People’s History of the United
Throughout America’s history, and in global human history,
women endured a changing sphere of oppression from
males and society.
Women were held behind men in society because they
were essentially put under stern rules to who they were
to be and how they were to act.
Men on Women
Puritanism and the patriarchal views of England invaded
America with the colonists. Men thought women inferior
because of religion, childbearing abilities, and an idea
that women were simply built, biologically, to be
dependent on men (fathers, husbands, sons).
Men created these beliefs, and women were trained to
believe them. Society beat down any women, or men,
who said otherwise.
● During the colonization, viewed as sexual companions
and a rare commodity. Obviously considered less than
males, but important in building a society.
● During the Revolution and the building of America,
confined to the home and wifely duties. Only upper
class white women were remembered for having any
say in the rights of women.
● During Industrialization, either strictly confined to the
home, or treated like slaves in factories, depending on
Women’s worth fluctuated
In times of instability (war, building this country, changing
an economy), women grew closer to men in value and
equality. They were more necessary because the society
was changing, and were harder to oppress in a time
where every social class was changing.
A Formal Start to Protest
Industrialization in the later 1800’s created a workforce of
women outside the barriers of the home. Women’s
strikes, like those of the Lowell girls and others, began a
trend of women fighting for their rights. They began to be
noticed, and pulled themselves into the public sphere by
demonstrating their abilities and protesting their
Literacy Propels Feminism
A job left unchecked by men, teaching became the
profession dominated by women. These women became
educated, and gained power and confidence in theird
position. Soon, women lead movements, for anti-slavery
and health reform.
Their practice here lead to the Feminist Movement in the
late 1800’s, where they protested their limited rights and
argued their importance in society.
What I Know From School
I really wish I knew less about the philosophies of dead old
white men, but that’s all we learn about in schools.
Certain religious ideologies negatively impact women’s
view of themselves and their worth. Men writing about a
woman’s place as submissive are littered in English and
History class curriculum. Psychologist who prescribe to
diatribes about women with penis envy write introduction
to psychology textbooks. These are the things we’re
taught in school, the things we are forced to read, and
analyze, and argue with or against.
As a Woman...
I would like to hear about Abigale Adams in history books,
because the only place I read her was an AP English
I would like to know more about women who fought in the
Revolutionary War. I never heard that in any class, any
textbook, outside of a mention of female nurses.
I would like to read about working class strikes more often.
I want to know about lower class women struggling
I am a feminist. I am frustrated by our culture, that women
are undervalued and discriminated against. This article
describes what happened to women to put them in this
position, and gives reasons why.
These are not ideas being presented, these are facts. I am
disgusted by them.
This Version of History...
Should be read by all Americans. In a AP U.S History
textbook, there are two chapters dedicated to slavery
and the slave owning culture and economy.
A section was dedicated to the Seneca Falls convention
and the start of the formal Feminist Movement. A
paragraph was given to the passing of the 19th
Giving a voice to fifty percent of the population is seen as
Society Then Affects Now
There was a comic I saw once that illustrated a man in a
business suit happily standing in an elevator going up. A
woman in a professional suit, a skirt and jacket, was
sweating and panting up the stairs in her high heels.
Women in history were held back from being active
members of society. We have come far, but we started
closer to the bottom. We have a harder time getting up.
As I See It
Women’s struggle is not seen as important. Many people
don’t see the inequality of genders. Feminist is a slur in
some circles. I shook my head while reading this. Much
in the chapter I already knew about, but only due to my
own digging, to my own drive to know and change
things. This creates a burning frustration in me, and I
know it doesn’t in many of my peers, man and woman.
The tradition passivity is difficult to dispose of.