How did changes in the United States from 1800-1860 impact women's lives?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are two somewhat contradictory major changes in women's lives during this time. 

On the one hand, this was the time of the rise of the idea of "separate spheres" for men and women.  This idea came about as the commercial revolution took paying work and moved it out of the household.  This idea held that women should dedicate themselves to being mothers and wives.

On the other hand, there was the growing involvement of women in reform movements.  Social changes like the Second Great Awakening had emphasized the idea of perfecting society.  This led women (and men) to participate in reform movements such as abolitionism and the movements for temperance and for prison and insane asylum reform.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial