“To the Editors of Philadelphia Daily News from Printers’ Union,” 1854 “…we do not believe that any benefit an accrue from taking women from the sphere of action God (as it is evident from her physical and mental qualities) designed her to occupy. Her faculties are different from those of a male and any attempt to draw her preset position in life should be met with that opposition from the American 165 people which would be exerted against immorality and vice. The purity of a woman should be guarded with care, and surely contact with the world in the same method that man finds necessary would have a very pernicious effect upon her morals.” (1)

The above is a quote from a letter that wanted to justify why the Printers’ Union shouldn’t employ women. At this point in time, working out of the home was starting to become a bit more common and accepted. However, looking at the above quote, it is easy to see that many people were unhappy about women becoming part of the outside labor force. The part that states, “Her faculties are different from those of a male,” draws back to that idea of separate spheres; women and men were not on the same level and therefore did not belong in the same workplace. It then goes onto talk about a woman’s purity and how it should be “guarded.” It was believed that she may be tempted if she was around a man that wasn’t her husband or a family member. I think it is more than fair to say that men felt threatened by the women that started to work. Men were supposed to be dominant while women were to be submissive. They feared losing their spots in the labor force to their submissive counterparts.

(1) Week 7 documents, 4



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