The transition to a cash economy along with the increasing antislavery movement ensured that nineteenth century America would become economically and politically changed. However, the second Great Awakening ensured that principles of the past would remain constant and stronger than ever and white middle-class ladies were the main target. The emphasis on religion reaffirmed women as pious and virtuous beings. The idea of such middle-class virtue encompassed meticulously-run households and submissiveness to the dominant male figure of the house; the driving force behind such obedience derived from the belief in projecting morality at all times.
[...] Pursuing the ideal of committing to house labor gave women power to be active providers for their husband and children's comfort and happiness. Women defended the need for existing in the separate sphere of the household. Mrs. A. J. Graves commented in Woman in America, home is [woman's] appropriate sphere she is deserting the station which God and nature have assigned to (Boydston, 148). Not only were women empowered by the control they had over the state of their homes, but as moral followers of God. [...]
[...] Ed. Nancy F. Cott et als. Boston: Northeastern University Press Boydston, Jeanne. Pastoralization of Housework.” Women's America: Refocusing the Past. Ed. Linda K. Kerber and Jane Sherron De Hart. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press Grimké, Angelina. Appeal to the Christian Women of the South From lecture 11/15. [...]
[...] Angelina, along with her sister, successfully convinced women to take their side more seriously; the numbers alone hint at the middle-class ideal of morality's increased integration in politics: measure of the sisters' success was the exponential growth in the membership of the American Anti-Slavery Society immediately after their speaking tour .In 1837, the AASS claimed 1,000 auxiliaries and members” (Sklar, 31). Even with such big statistics, the power of a mere two sisters truly expressed the extent of the pervasiveness. [...]
[...] These women realized that although they viewed prostitution as a manifestation of evil, that being part of the virtuous middle-class meant treating all people with kindness and concern. Instead of throwing prostitutes in jail, the Magdalen women attempted to reform them by giving them jobs as domestic servants and teaching them to embrace a Christian lifestyle. Instilling the same religious values into reformed prostitutes was the Magdalen Society's way of producing more women to uphold the middle-class standard of morality that they so idealized to free society of weakness and vice. [...]
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