Abolitionist Movement Vs Women’s Rights Movement

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During the 19th century, the similarities that were shared between the abolitionist movement and the women’s rights movement were; non-elite white woman’s lives were essentially maintained with work force while, black woman mainly stayed doing house work and were subjected to the same violence throughout this time. However, the movements dramatically differed in black and white woman’s interests, white woman moving out of house work and more into the labor force, and woman starting to move into sex work along with owning their sexuality.

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The biggest difference between the women’s rights movement and the abolitionist movement is that black people’s interests were pushed to the side. The abolitionist movement was fully focused on the war stopping and the abolishment of slavery. Meaning that this movement was mainly focused on the African American community as a whole. But after slavery was abolished white women felt like they could focus on themselves and form their own agenda and interests when it came to laws. White men always had the upper hand in society while, after slaver was abolished white women took it upon themselves to try and uphold the white man standard. Meaning that instead of focusing on the betterment of all people they wanted to just focus on the interests of white woman. As the cost of an important part of the women’s rights legacy: attention to the interrelation of the hierarchies of race and gender. As the larger society left behind the concerns of the ex-slaves and of the Radical Reconstruction, much of the woman suffrage movement did, too, envisioning women’s emancipation largely in terms of white women . They thought that it was in their best interest to push for sex based laws rather than laws outlawing discrimination against all people.

This created specific subsets to woman’s rights, some including the interests of black woman and other people of other and others greatly not. All this just to slow down the movement of all woman suffrage in general. Women being able to move into sex work during the women’s rights movement is something that greatly differs from the abolitionist movement. Although typically brought about from hardship it is a sign that women started to take control of their bodies and start to use their sexuality in a way that could make them money. Showing that she sought a better life rather than marrying and staying home with the children or joining the outside labor force. A truly stark difference between what woman were supposed to do according to society and what a woman chose to do when transitioning from the abolitionist movement to the woman’s rights movement. Along with woman going into sex work, after the abolishment of slavery, they also started to move out of house work and go into the labor force. For instance, nonetheless, it is clear that for white women, paid domestic work was on the decline. Domestic servants, who before the war were the majority of the white female labor force, constituted less than 30 percent by the end of the century. Most of the woman in the labor force were unmarried around 1890. Which vastly differed from the life lived by woman during the 1860s with woman mainly taking care of the home . This means that during the more recent times, if worked outside of the home they also had to tend to their family or chose not to have one. Unless they were wealthy white women, they had no help at home.

While wealthy white women could afford to have help at home, non-elite white women did not. Unlike to wealthy white woman, poor white woman never had to the choice to stay at home and only tend to their families. They were in the labor force during the abolitionist movement and throughout the women’s rights movement. Poor white woman not only had to tend to their families at home but also provide general income for them too. That did not change from the transition of the abolitionist movement to the woman’s rights movement. For example, non-elite white southerners were less affected by the withdraw of slave labor. Therefore, before and after the abolition of slavery, poor white woman were always part of the working class. Along with white woman the work of black woman also stayed the same. They mainly stayed within the house tending to the children, cooking for everyone, cleaning, etc. Seeing as after the war, black woman stayed stagnate in the workforce. Although free, they were not allowed to participate in factory work and thus creating a greater divide during the woman’s rights movement between black and white woman. Things did not seem to change much for black woman; their work or they way they were treated in society. Still after slavery they were subjected to a lot of white, male violence. During the abolitionist movement and the height of slavery they were brutally attacked, raped, separated from their families, etc. This sadly did not change after the abolitionist movement and carried on throughout the women's rights movement. We see here that became targets of gendered violence particular vulnerabilities of their sex were explored when they were beaten. When beatings failed to discipline female slaves who resisted their masters’ control, sale was an even greater threat. Comparing this to after slavery was abolished, changes in gender and racial relations together generated considerable violence in the postwar south. African American autonomy was a profound threat white men meant both to punish black man and reassert their slave-era control over black women’s bodies. No matter the reason, white people would choose to do this to establish dominance and create a hierarchy within society to perpetuate that the white people would always have control over what black woman do.

Woman in society were subject to a lot of change during the abolitionist and woman’s rights movements. While white woman started to put themselves first, black woman were just trying to survive in a white dominated society. Some, while facing these changes, tried their best to navigate and challenge interests for woman as a whole while others, did not seem to think about the lesser cared for woman.

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