It is the most famous letter addressed to her husband who took an active part in the creation of the Declaration of Independence. The period of 1775-1783 is famous for one of the biggest events in world history, the war in the United States for the independence of the people. The revolution began with tax discontent. The driving force behind the revolution was the desire to secede England which viewed the American territories of Britain as a specialized part of a single system of conditional empire. Residents of American territories of Britain did not want to be a specialized part and subject to the common interests of the whole empire. They wanted to separate and use all their resources on their own.
Thus, 13 American bourgeois colonies gained independence from monarchical England. This happened on July 4, 1776 when America adopted the “Declaration of Independence” written by Thomas Jefferson. The declaration stated that from now on 13 North American public colonies were being suspended from England and united into one state that is the United States (United States of America). The reason for its proclamation called the fact that the metropolis oppressed and infringed upon the rights of the colonies of the New World. The main idea of the Declaration of Independence was that from now on only the people were considered as the source of power. The United States became Republican, and people of different nationalities and religions supposed to become equal among themselves and had the same rights. The status of women in this period was dictated by the British law system which stipulated that an unmarried woman could own property, sign contracts, sue, and be liable before the court. However, when she got married, she became the whole with her husband and refuse both her surname and her property which was transferred under the control of her husband. The situation in other social and political spheres was also not in favor of women.
The significance of this source is that we could find out when the long road of fight for women’s rights begin. The first public defender of the rights of American women was the wife of the leader of American Revolution John Adams and who became a second president of the United Stated. In letters written to her husband Mrs. Abigail Adams argued that women deserve to have equal political, economic, and social rights with men. She put it like this: I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend (Reader, p.8). This desire of Abigail was not taken seriously: I cannot but laugh and in the newly proclaimed American republic women for long decades remained in a subordinate position both legally and socially (Reader, p.8).
The woman at all times played the role of the keeper of the hearth. In almost all countries of the world marriages were exclusively religious in nature, and divorces were strictly forbidden or condemned by society. The duties of the spouse were to provide food for the family. The wife had to bring up children and completely submit to her spouse. The right of America said that the fair sex does not exist in legal terms if there is no husband or father behind it. Without the consent of the man, the couple did not have the opportunity to own property, enter into contracts or appear in court. But the time has come when women lost patience, and women of Western civilization began their struggle for equality in the 19th century. The women’s movement was known as suffragism which literally means the right to vote. In addition to the right to vote, women wanted to attend and study in universities, and they wanted to have equal rights to any property. The suffragist movement’s manifesto was announced by American activists at the very first conference on women’s rights where they approved a Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 in Seneca Falls. It laid out the principles of existence and the basic ideas of suffragism. This Declaration was proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She wanted to somehow connect her work with the “Declaration of Independence” of America.
It’s significant that at the conference activists were able to clearly articulate the slogan of their own movement: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Reader, p.19). According to our primary source, they listed main eighteen repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her (Reader, p.19).
To summarize, according to our secondary source: Women were denied access to professions, trades, and education; their rights in marriage and motherhood; their self-confidence; and their moral equality before God…right to vote (TWY, p. 240).The significance of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her Declaration of Sentiments manifested in the fact that she launched a series of events that led to the fact that all women were entitled to vote.
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