History Help 3 Questions
1. What were the major causes and outcomes of the War of 1812?
2. After reading the two stories below, answer the following: explain how different kinds of women in society were affected by economic changes happening in the first part of the 19th century. Defend your reasoning.
From Recollections of Harriet L. Noble (1824)
One of countless women who took part in the westward movement after the War of 1812, Harriet L. Noble later described her family’s migration from New York to Michigan, then a sparsely populated territory, and the burdens pioneer life placed on women. My husband was seized with the mania, and accordingly made preparation to start and . . . we started about the 20th of September, 1824, for Michigan. . . . As we approached Detroit, the “Cantonment” with the American flag floating on its walls, was decidedly the most interesting of any part of the town; for a city it was certainly the most filthy, irregular place I had ever seen. . . . I said to myself, “if this be a Western city, give me a home in the woods.” . . . We passed two log houses between this and Ann Arbor. About the middle of the afternoon we found ourselves at our journey’s end—but what a prospect? There were some six or seven log huts occupied by as many inmates as could be crowded into them. . . . We lived in this way until our husbands got a log house raised and the roof on. . . . We sold out and bought again ten miles west of Ann Arbor, a place which suited us better. . . . My husband and myself were four days building it. I suppose most of my lady friends would think a woman quite out of “her legitimate sphere” in turning mason, but I was not at all particular what kind of labor I performed, so we were only comfortable and provided with the necessaries of life. . . . I am not of a desponding disposition, nor often low-spirited, and having left New York to make Michigan my home, I had no idea of going back, or being very unhappy. Yet the want of society, of church privileges, and in fact almost every thing that makes life desirable, would often make me sad in spite of all effort to the contrary. . . . When I look back upon my life, and see the ups and downs, the hardships and privations I have been called upon to endure, I feel no wish to be young again. I was in the prime of life when I came to Michigan—only twenty-one, and my husband was thirty-three. Neither of us knew the reality of hardship. Could we have known what it was to be pioneers in a new country, we should never have had the courage to come, but I am satisfied that with all the disadvantages of raising a family in a new country, there is a consolation in knowing that our children are prepared to brave the ills of life, I believe, far better than they would have been had we never left New York.
From “Factory Life as it is, by an Operative” (1845)
Beginning in the 1830s, young women who worked in the cotton textile factories in Lowell, Massachusetts, organized to demand shorter hours of work and better labor conditions. In this pamphlet from 1845, a factory worker details her grievances as well as those of female domestic workers, the largest group of women workers. Philanthropists of the nineteenth century!—shall not the operatives of our country be permitted to speak for themselves?. . . Shall tyranny and cruel oppression be allowed to rivet the chains of physical and mental slavery on the millions of our country who are the real producers of all its improvements and wealth, and they fear to speak out in noble self-defense? Shall they fear to appeal to the sympathies of the people, or the justice of this far-famed republican nation? God forbid! Much has been written and spoken in woman’s behalf, especially in America; and yet a large class of females are, and have been, destined to a state of servitude as degrading as unceasing toil can make it. I refer to the female operatives of New England—the free states of our union—the states where no colored slave can breathe the balmy air, and exist as such—but yet there are those, a host of them, too, who are in fact nothing more nor less than slaves in every sense of the word! Slaves to a system of labor which requires them to toil from five until seven o’clock, with one hour only to attend to the wants of nature, allowed—slaves to the will and requirements of the “powers that be,” however they may infringe on the rights or conflict with the feelings of the operative—slaves to ignorance—and how can it be otherwise? What time has the operative to bestow on moral, religious or intellectual culture? How can our country look for aught but ignorance and vice, under the existing state of things? When the whole system is exhausted by unremitting labor during twelve and thirteen hours per day, can any reasonable being expect that the mind will retain its vigor and energy? Impossible! Common sense will teach every one the utter impossibility of improving the mind under these circumstances, however great the desire may be for knowledge. QUESTIONS In what ways did the experience of moving west alter traditional expectations of women’s roles? Why does the female factory worker compare her conditions with those of slaves? What do these documents suggest about how different kinds of women were affected by economic change in the first part of the nineteenth century? Again, we hear much said on the subject of benevolence among the wealthy and so called, Christian part of community. Have we not cause to question the sincerity of those who, while they talk benevolence in the parlor, compel their help to labor for a mean, paltry pittance in the kitchen? And while they manifest great concern for the souls of the heathen in distant lands, care nothing for the bodies and intellects of those within their own precincts? . . . In the strength of our united influence we will soon show these drivelling cotton lords, this mushroom aristocracy of New England, who so arrogantly aspire to lord it over God’s heritage, that our rights cannot be trampled upon with impunity; that we WILL not longer submit to that arbitrary power which has for the last ten years been so abundantly exercised over us.
3. View these videos. What do you believe are the most important themes and share your viewpoints?