Families were typically large and patriarchal

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The Victorian time period began in 1837, the year Victoria became Queen of England, and ended the year she died in 1901.

Even though the Victorian era was created in England, the Victorian values played a major role in American social life. Men were meant to be focused on wage work and politics, whereas women were concerned in housekeeping and raising their children.

Families were typically large and patriarchal.

During this time there is a rise of middle class people and professions. Houses were a symbol of growing wealth and importance through decoration inside and outside the house. People moved out of city centers and the suburbs are born in this era.

Women are the keepers of the house and the teachers of moral values to children.

In the Victorian era, women also experienced increasing educational and employment opportunities outside their role in the home.

Even though women were given more rights and freedoms, they still faced many challenges. After graduation, most women were not being hired in their professions. Women were still not allowed the right to vote. Some women took it upon themselves to revolt against the male dominance in society. Victoria Woodhull, a devout feminist, became the first female American to run for President in 1872. Even though she did not win the election, she was seen as a

Women's rights

Domestic violence rarely went before the courts, tending to be more dealt with inside the home.

Jul 18, 1848

Seneca Falls Convention

Abolitionist activists and Quakers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convene the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights in a Wesleyan chapel at Seneca, New York. Some 240 people attend, 40 of them men, including famous orator, activist, and runaway slave Frederick Douglass. The Convention passes several resolutions, including one calling for extension of the franchise to women. Its attendees adopt a statement known as the Declaration of Sentiments (or the Seneca Falls Declaration), based on the Declaration of Independence, that calls for the reform of practices that discriminate against women. It will be another 72 years before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment grants women the vote, but this is an essential and an important beginning of the struggle.

By the early 1850s, a few forms of birth control are available (with limited rates of effectiveness), notably the douche & different types of intrauterine devices. Women are also familiar with the rhythm method, in which they only have intercourse during the time of the month when they believe that they are not fertile. But ignorance about the female fertility cycle diminishes the effectiveness of this form of birth control.


Married Women Gain Rights

By 1860, New York and several other states (Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio) have passed laws to allow married women to keep their own earnings.

Dec 1, 1838

Women Petition Against Slavery

In the manufacturing towns of Lynn and Saugus, Massachusetts, 912 women sign an antislavery petition. Among them are probably the many women shoe binders who reside in both cities, especially since two of the most prominent shoe binder union members are also a part of the Lynn Female Anti-Slavery Society.

Influential Women for Women and/or Slave's Rights

Lucretia Coffin Mott

Sojourner Truth

Angelina Grimké Weld and Sarah Grimké

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Alice Paul

Narrow interpretations of the 15th Amendment-states that citizens should not be restricted to vote, based on color, etc. 1870

Susan B. Anthony arrested in 1872 for voting, found guilty of casting an illegal ballot.
Minor v. Happersett Rejects Right to Vote

March 29, 1874

In Minor v. Happersett, the United States Supreme Court rules that the right to vote "was not necessarily one of the privileges or immunities of citizenship" and therefore "neither the Constitution nor the Fourteenth Amendment made all citizens voters." This ends feminists' attempts to secure voting rights under existing constitutional amendments.

Women's Rights Across the World

In 1839 the Custody of Infants Act was passed which allowed women to claim custody of young children following separation.

The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 allowed legally separated women to retain their earnings, giving them some control over their own income for the first time.

In 1878, London University was the first to award women degrees on the same terms as men.

In 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to have universal suffrage and a year later the feminist phrase "New Woman" was introduced to the English language.



Mary Walker



In 1868 and 1870, the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteed the right to vote to men, but not to women. Women began to focus their attention on gaining suffrage, the right to vote. A constitutional amendment allowing women the right to vote was introduced in every session of Congress from 1878 to 1920, when it finally passed at the 19th Amendment.

Influential Women of Iowa

Arabella Mansfield, born Belle Aurelia Babb, became the first woman lawyer admitted to the practice of law in the United States. Mansfield graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University in 1866 and taught at Simpson College for a year. She then studied law in her brother Washington's law office for two years. Even though Iowa law required an applicant for bar association be white, male, and over the age of 21, Mansfield took the exam and was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1869.

Even though she was admitted to the Iowa bar as a practicing lawyer; Mansfield became a school educator and administrator. She and her husband taught at Iowa Wesleyan College, until moving to teach at DePauw University. Mansfield served as Dean of the School of Art in 1893, and Dean of the School of Music in 1894. She also was an active supporter of the women's suffrage movement, chairing the Iowa Women's Suffrage Convention in 1870, working with Susan B. Anthony.



Carrie Chapman Catt became a key figure in the passing of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote. In 1880, she graduated from Iowa State College as valedictorian and the only woman in her class. After graduation, Catt worked as a law clerk, a teacher and then superintendent of Mason City, Iowa. She joined the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association and worked as a professional writer and lecturer. From 1890 to 1892, she served as the Iowa association's state organizer.

Catt began to work nationally for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, speaking in 1890 at a Washington D.C. convention. In 1892, she was asked by Susan B. Anthony to address Congress on the proposed suffrage amendment. She became president of NAWSA from 1900 to 1904 and from 1915 to 1920, as well as helped organize the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Catt founded the League of Women Voters and served as president until her death in 1947.



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