Mary Paul's Letters Essay

930 Words Nov 24th, 2005 4 Pages
Essay Assignment: Market Revolution

During the nineteenth century, America went through a number of social, economic and political changes. Revolutions in manufacturing and commerce led to substantial economic growth. Several cultural movements reformed American society. Mary Paul, once just a normal girl from Vermont, led a life that was shaped by the changes of the 1800's. The information gathered from Mary Paul's letters to her father make it clear that Mary's life experiences turned her into anything but an average woman. However, in the scope of the economic and cultural reforms of the nineteenth century, Mary Paul represents the average American. Before the Marketing Revolution, women had a very limited role in society. They
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Mary explains to her father, "I can get better pay without working as hard as at any other place... I should not be confined to one kind of work... [I] could have the privilege of doing... Housework if I choose... Both men and women have the same pay for the same work... members can live as cheaply as they choose as they pay only for what they eat..." The phalanx seems very appealing to Mary and many other women at the time. The freedom to do whatever kind of work one pleases – which was certainly not available at Lowell – is very important to American women. Economic equality between men and women is also a new idea to Mary. Mary's attraction to the life in phalanxes serves as an example of how movements such as Fourierism affected the women of the 1800's. Mary Paul is the perfect example of how the Market Revolution and the cultural reforms of the nineteenth century affected women. Her needs and desires reflect those of women all over America. The Market Revolution allowed her to live out some of her dreams. The creation of utopian communities with anti-capitalist ideals changed the direction of Mary's dreams. Like many other women at the time, she was drawn to one of these communities. Although Mary is somewhat of a poster child for both revolutions, her life as a whole was far from typical for women who lived through the changes of the nineteenth century. Mary Paul's life was affected by the economic growth and the cultural reform

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