Zinn argues that women have for a long time been neglected for their contributions to the American society. In the United States history, women are invisible. Historically, women were treated as inferior and black women bore the brunt for the inferior label. Women were viewed as nothing but child bearers. Men have for a long time used and exploited women (Zinn 102). However, women were treated with respect in earlier American societies where property was communal, and families were extensive. For instance, in Zuni tribes, women felt more secure because they were treated with respect (Zinn 103). During the slavery period in the United States, slave women were poorly treated. During slavery, white women also faced their fair share of hardship. During the colonial period, a husband had great control over her wife to the extent that she controlled her right to chastisement. A husband was in control of his wifes property and took any of his wifes income. Puritan New England championed the idea that women were supposed to be subjects of their husbands in all situations and all things. A notion was created that men were naturally bestowed with a larger share of reason and it was their naturally to dominate women (Zinn 106). However, there are some women who rebelled against the ideology. Women who rebelled against patriarchal authority were detained, punished, and others were killed. It was rare for women to participate in public affairs openly (Zinn 107). During the American Revolution, there are many middle-class women who made contributions to the revolution, but their efforts have often been ignored by historians. In later years of the revolution, there were poor women who went to army encampments, fought and helped in a quest to liberate America but historians have portrayed them as prostitutes. Feminist impulses have for a long time failed to recognize the contribution of women from poor backgrounds. Women were excluded from some professions such as law and medicine and at the same time, underpaid in the professions in which they ventured.
Angelina Grimke was one of the first female abolitionists. Grimke advocated for equal rights to be accorded to both slaves and women. Angelina Grimk affirmed that slavery period was a period full of horrors that were difficult to describe (Japp 337). Slavery had demoralizing influences, and it was also destructive to human happiness. According to Grimke, Slavery blots out part of a human being that is responsible for happiness. Slaves endured a lot of hardships, but many people do not seem to recognize what they went through. Former slave owners and their families have not even come out to apologize for what they had to make their fellow human beings to go through. Women have played major roles when it comes to contributing to the abolition movement. There were very few people who felt the pain of slaves during the slavery period. Abolitionists had an objective of ensuring that slaves were delivered from captivity. Any morally upright person would have had his heart sink after experiencing the horrors of slavery. Slavery was against human values, and it defiled human intelligence. Any person who is advocating for any cause must stand up bold enough, be brave and voice his opinion for those who are unable to do so. There are records in England that reveal that women played a major role in abolishing slavery in Englands colonies. Women are highly influential when it comes to championing for legislation of any piece of legislature. Female abolitionists believed that female consciousness is vital in bringing about change in society (Yee 60).
Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. New York: Harper [An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017. Print.
Japp, Phyllis M. "Esther or Isaiah?: the Abolitionistfeminist Rhetoric of Angelina Grimke." Quarterly Journal of Speech. 71.3 (2009): 335-348. Print.
Yee, Shirley J. Black Women Abolitionists: A Study in Activitism, 1828-1860. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993. Print.
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