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Word Count: 600
Womens status during Americas grand experiment as the worlds first democracy has undergone dramatic changes over the generations The religious doctrine written laws and social customs that colonists brought with them from Europe asserted womens subordinate position Women were to marry tend the house and raise a family Education beyond basic reading and writing was unusual When a woman took a husband she lost what limited freedom she might have had as a single adult Those few married women who worked for pay could not control their own earnings Most could neither buy nor sell property or sign contracts none could vote sue when wronged defend themselves in court or serve on juries In the rare case of divorce women lost custody of their children and any family possessions During the Revolutionary War women contributed in virtually every capacity from doing fieldwork at home to fighting on battlefields But their pleas for rights under the new democracy were disregarded Women actually lost legal ground as a result of the new United States Constitution Sixty years later in July 1848 a small group of women set about to change their second-class status They launched a peaceful revolution that has since encircled the globe-the Womens Rights Movement At the convention they held in Seneca Falls New York 68 women and 32 men signed a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions It described 18 areas of life where womens rights were denied and demanded an end to womens inferior status Opposition arose immediately but these new pioneers had proposed a magnificent new America Reformers began speaking passionately for womens equality in small-town forums and city halls Annual womens rights conventions drew tremendous crowds In time no aspect of public life would remain untouched by this second womens revolution Educational opportunities improved slowly as secondary schools then colleges were established for women With the advent of coeducational schools policies still limited womens admissions financial assistance course or program choices and
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