Women throughout history have not been treated as equals. Instead they are regarded as lesser beings as compared to men, and they have been discriminated against just for being another gender. For instance, women acquired the rights to vote in less than a half a century ago. However, with time, women’s roles have begun to change. The idea of “Woman’s Place” during the colonial era did not stay like that, but instead altered into a completely different role with the arrival of the American Civil War. Women throughout history have not been treated as equals. Instead they are regarded as lesser beings as compared to men, and they have been discriminated against just for being another gender. For instance, women acquired the rights to vote in less than a half a century ago. However, with time, women’s roles have begun to change.
The idea of “Woman’s Place” during the colonial era did not stay like that, but instead altered into a completely different role with the arrival of the American Civil War. It is clear that, the view of women was well known during the first years of the newly established British colonies, as the most of the first settlers to the US were men. Thereafter, women were brought over to the new world as “sex slaves, child bearers [and] companions” but were called indentured servants, thus being viewed as material items (Zinn 104). Most of these women were just over twelve years old, but treated “not much different from slaves” (Zinn 104). Unfortunately, sexual abuses by the masters of the indentured servant were common incidences during the colonial period, as even women who were considered free still did not have equal status as men.
For instance, when woman went to court complaining of carpenter’s work, she was hushed down by Reverend John Cotton. He was a church Father, who declared that it was not natural for husbands to listen their wives, although they, women, should always listen to the husbands (Zinn 108). However, it is crucial noting that, with all this pressure from such a society, women still rebelled for what they believe is right. Ann Hutchinson, a free religious woman and mother of thirteen spoke against the bible. She believed that, the bible should be interpreted in any way one thinks, and as a good speaker, she gained more than sixty followers who believe in her idea. However, she was put on trail by the government and the church for challenging “their authority” (Zinn 109). Thereafter, she was found guilty and was banished from her colony. This little incident is important in women’s history because it shows how one woman went against social acceptance to fight for what she believed in. However, majority of women still were not part of the public affairs. It was not until the American Revolution that women took part in public affairs. During the American Revolution, women began to form patriotic groups which helped fight the British (Zinn 109).
One of the remarkable accomplishments woman did during the American Revolution was to form the Daughters of Liberty. This group encouraged the woman to boycott British goods, make their own clothes and buy American-made goods instead. However, according to Zinn, “working-class women” during the American Revolution were forgotten. In the last years of the war, women went into army camps to help, and some even fought (Zinn 110). During the end of the American Revolution, the idea of female equality began spread. With this, idea for equality for women initiated. Tom Paine, an English-American political activist, author and revolutionary, advocated for equal rights for women (Zinn 111). In addition to Paine’s support, an English writer Mary Wollstonecraft published her book A Vindication of the Rights of Women, which was “reprinted” after the Revolutionary War in the United States.
Before the American Civil war began, equality for women had an upmost importance, which would later be fought for many years. Women were considered as objects during the first years of the colonial period, thus making it difficult for them to live. They were expected to do all of the housework, become child bearers, and of course to obey the men in their families. However, as time went by, the role for women began to change, and this is especially during and after the American Revolution. During this time, women started to believe that they should be equal like their male counterparts. It is crucial noting that, this was because of those few brave women who went against the norm and fought for what they believe is correct.