|Women In The
Stearns, Peter N.; Adas, Michael;Schwartz, Stuart B.
Document: Women In The Industrial Revolution
The West's Industrial Revolution changed the situation of women in
ways. Some of the changes have occurred more recently in other
others were particularly characteristic of the 19th-century West.
Industrialization cut into women's traditional work and protest
example, in spearheading bread riots as attention shifted to
strikes), but it tended to expand educational opportunities. Some
roles and protest outlets, including feminism, developed by 1914.
changes occurred in the home as well. New ideas and standards at
women's position and set up more demanding tasks. Relations among
also affected by the growing use of domestic servants (the most
job for working-class women) and new attitudes by middle- and
women alike. The first document that follows sketches the
middle-class women; it comes from an American moral tract of 1837,
authored, probably by a man. The second document, written by a woman
English woman's magazine, shows new household standards of another
a critical tone also common in middle-class literature. Finally, a
housewife discusses her servant problems, reflecting yet another
women's lives. How could women decide what their domestic roles were
whether they brought satisfaction or not?
Women As Civilizers (1837)
As a sister, she soothes the troubled heart, chastens and tempers
wild daring of the hurt mind restless with disappointed pride or
ambition. As a mistress, she inspires the nobler sentiment of purer
the sober purpose of conquering himself for virtue's sake. As a
consoles him in grief, animates him with hope in despair, restrains
prosperity, cheers him in poverty and trouble, swells the pulsations
throbbing breast that beats for honorable distinction, and rewards
with the undivided homage of a grateful heart. In the important and
character of mother, she watches and directs the various impulses of
genius, instills into the tender and susceptible mind the quickening
virtue, fits us to brave dangers in time of peril, and consecrates
and virtue the best affections of our nature.
Motherhood As Power And Burden (1877)
Every woman who has charge of a household should have a practical
knowledge of nursing, simple doctoring and physicianing. The
doctor must be called in for real illness. But the Home Doctor may
do so much
to render professional visits very few and far between. And her
be of infinite value when it is necessary to carry out the doctor's
The Mother Builder
It is a curious fact that architects who design and builders who
out their plans must have a training for this work. But the Mother
supposed to have to know by instinct how to put in each tiny brick
builds up the "human." The result of leaving it to "instinct" is
child starts out with bad foundations and a jerry-built
constitution. . . .
When one considers that one child in every three born dies before
of five years, it is evident how wide-spread must be the ignorance
as to the
feeding and care of these little ones. It is a matter of surprise to
understand the constitution and needs of infants that, considering
conditions under which the large number of them are reared, the
not greater. . . .
The Risks Babies Run
To begin with, the popular superstition that a young baby must be
"hungry" because it lives on milk, and is on this plea the recipient
and bits of vegetables, potato and gravy, crusts, and other
articles of diet, has much to answer for. Then, the artistic sense
mother which leads her to display mottled necks, dimpled arms, and
legs, instead of warmly covering these charming portions of baby's
goes hugely to swell the death-rate. Mistakes in feeding and
much to answer for in the high mortality of infants.
The Servant "Problem" (1860)
So we lost Mary, and Peggy reigned in her stead for some six weeks.
But Peggy differed greatly from her predecessor, Mary. She was not
in her person, and my mother declared that her presence was not
within a few feet. Moreover she had no notion of putting things in
places, but always left all her working materials in the apartment
were last used. It was not therefore pleasant, when one wanted a
brush, to have to sit down and think which room Peggy had swept the
so on with all the paraphernalia for dusting and scrubbing. But this
the worst. My mother, accustomed to receive almost reverential
her old servants, could not endure poor Peggy's familiar ways. . . .
Now, though I am quite willing to acknowledge the mutual obligation
exists between the employer and employed, I do not agree with my
that she is the only person who ought to be considered as conferring
I desire to treat her with all kindness, showing every possible
regard to her
comfort, and I expect from her no more work than I would cheerfully
perform in the same time. But when I scrupulously perform my part of
bargain, both as regards food and wages, not to mention much thought
in order to make things easy for her and which were not in the
all, I think she ought not only to keep faith with me if possible,
abstain from hinting at the obligation she confers in coming.
It is not pleasant, as my mother says, to beg and pray for the help
which we also pay liberally. But it is worse for my kitchen helper
continually reminding me that she need not go out unless she likes,
it was only to oblige me she ever came at all. I do not relish this
ignoring of her wages, etc., or her being quite deaf because I
choose to offer
a suggestion as to the propriety of dusting out the corners, or when
hint that I should prefer her doing something in my way. . . .
But if I were to detail all my experiences, I should never have
have had many good and willing workers; but few on whose punctuality
regularity I could rely.
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