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Victorian America - Essay Example

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The author of this essay "Victorian America" comments on the influence of Queen Victoria on the American society. As the text has it, Victoria's influence during what has been labeled the Victorian Age stretched across the ocean to touch the lands of America, albeit a little delayed…
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Victorian America
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Download file to see previous pages The country gained 12 new states, doubling its geographical area, voted on 10 new amendments to their constitution and increased its population by more than twice its number at the beginning of this period. “Americans were becoming more diverse, more urban, and more mobile.”2 Slavery had legally come to an end and an entirely new population was struggling to redefine itself and find a home. Social norms were questioned and the preconceptions of the elders were no longer automatically assumed honorable. Technology had changed too, bringing with it the mechanized tools of the factory, enabling large groups of workers to earn living wages within a single location rather than struggle to grow crops out on the farm. With the advent of the machine and the production line, more and more Americans were moving to the cities to seek work, bringing the women in from the fields on the farms to the kitchens and family rooms of the middle class. This emerging middle class gave birth to what has since been referred to as the Cult of the True Woman, coined first by Barbara Welter in the mid-1960s3, a set of ideas and beliefs regarding the proper structure of the quintessential American family. However, through this ideology, women were brought into closer contact with one another, gaining power and voice enough to finally give rise to the feminist movements that marked the tremendous strides toward equal rights that were accomplished in the early part of the twentieth century. Through this process of growth and change, moving from the True Woman to the New Woman, the feminist movement was seen primarily as a masculine movement with very little to suggest the ‘feminisation of American culture’, with its emphasis on compassion, consideration, and control that would emerge in the twenty-first century.
In leaving the farms for the cities with the new modernization of the cities and factories, Welter and others hypothesized that it became necessary for women to uphold the traditional ideologies the family had held dear while in a rural setting, thereby restricting them to a single idealized image of what embodies the True Woman. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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