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Women's Roles in 19th-Century America
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image This volume is part of a reference series by Greenwood Press on women's roles throughout history. The book provides a comprehensive overview of American women in the 19th century and includes thematic chapters on women and Religion, Work, Reform, Slavery and the Civil War, the Frontier, Education and the Professions, Literature and the Arts, and Marriage and Family Life.

This project was a wonderful opportunity to bring together so many of the themes and stories from my research and teaching in American women’s history.  When I first became interested in women’s history, I was drawn to the 19th century as the era of democratic rights movements, including anti-slavery and an organized women’s rights movement.  As I wrote in the Introduction to the book, reformers and writers often referred to their own nineteenth century as the "Woman's Century," and it was indeed a century of amazing change and progress for women in the United States.  There were great leaps forward in women's legal status, their entrance into higher education and the professions, and their roles in public life. In addition, more than four million African American slaves, roughly half of them women, gained their freedom.  My book traces the immense economic, political, and social changes in American women’s lives between 1800 and 1900, as well as women’s roles in shaping our national history during this period. 


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Review
"Wayne's synthesis is thorough, with a wide swath of nineteenth-century American women represented in each section. Wayne includes the events, persons, and issues which affected Catholic and Protestant women; enslaved, formerly enslaved and free African American women; Native American women; immigrants; and women from various regions of the country. She describes the advances in women's rights and changes in women's roles as they affected elite, middle-, and lower-class women. She avoids the all-too-common problem of telling an upper-class, white, Northeastern version of history with other women's stories relegated to a "minority" section. Instead, by integrating the true variety of American women's experiences in her narrative, Wayne captures the period in a way monographs often cannot." - Reviewed for H-Net by Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez, University of Chicago, Divinity School.


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