Law and Society Essay
They had virtually no voice. Men were only expected to provide their wife with the necessities of life, and to protect her. This system or way of functioning was called “covert”. Women were expected to provide a welcoming home and a carefree environment for their husbands, when they returned from a “long hard day of laboring work. ” Laws that were put into place in the early 1 9th century stated that married women were completely under the control of their husbands, much like a slave was under the control of his master.
There was a hero that “If the man killed his wife, it is not really his fault, she must have done something wrong, but if a woman killed her husband, she is punished with an equal fate as it is a capital crime to “bite the hand that feeds you”. ” Although some marriages were fine and worked out to the advantages if both partners, troublesome marriages were the issue. When a wife disagreed with her husband, she did not really have any grounds on which to protect herself.
Although assault was a crime under the law, the government barely enforced t when it came to domestic cases. Also, women were not allowed to really have any of their own money. The luxuries that they could enjoy were limited and under the complete control of what their husband would allow and pay for. If the two tried to divorce, she would be left with nothing and him with a fortune. Women’s rights were stripped from her when she married. As Elizabeth Caddy Stanton said, “As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education, all colleges being closed against her. ” This quote represents how women were treated very similarly to inferior beings, much like slaves were, except with less cruelty. They were seen as not worthy of education. Quite frankly, as a feminist, I believe that men were afraid that women would overcome their abilities and surpass them in wealth and success. Women began to fight and stand up for themselves by educating themselves in the law and trying to find loopholes in it.
One example of this was Harriet Douglas and Henry Kruger. Harriet loved Henry, but only agreed o marry him when she put him under the restrictions that the wife would usually be put under. Although their marriage did not work out, and Harriet still lost half of her property when they separated, she still set a standard and began a revolution for women’s rights. Stanton pronounced her “Declaration of Sentiments” at the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. She proposed twelve resolutions to a series of wrongs, and all twelve passed.
Also, states began passing the Married Women’s Property Act gave omen the ownership of the property they owned before their marriage. Following that act was the Earnings Act, which gave women the right to keep their income and wages from their job. Although women’s rights saw many optimistic reforms in the late 1 9th century, there was still much to be done for equality. Women were still restricted in many ways, but they had taken an important step towards their goal. These reforms would take many, many years to come about, but their achievements thus far were phenomenal and had a big impact on the culture of America.