How Women Achieved Educational Opportunities in the 19th Century Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Women in Higher Education -- 1785-1890

Higher educational opportunities for women in the U.S. were scarce in the late 18th century through the nineteenth century, and even into the 20th century as well. Women were expected to stay in the home, raise the children, cook and clean for the husband, not go out and get an advanced education. This paper reflects the few opportunities that were available to women and how those opportunities were seized upon by women eager to better themselves and pursue careers -- notwithstanding firm resistance by society and by colleges and universities run by men.

Women and Higher Education by 1860

In his book A History of American Higher Education, author John Thelin points out that by 1860, just before the Civil War, there were "…at lease forty-five institutions" that were offering college and university degrees to women (Thelin, 2012). Those higher education institutions were referred to as "college," "academy," "Literary institute" or "female seminary," Thelin explains, and the curricula that they offered included vocational training, finishing-school programs (liberal arts among other themes). However the author asserts that these schools that were open to women in that era were very "unpopular" with the American society, and indeed, twenty years earlier in America (1840) -- and from the late 18th century until 1840 -- it was very rare for a woman to have a chance to attend a college.

There were three schools that offered higher education opportunities for women in the 1850s were located in Oxford, Ohio, Thelin continues, and there were "normal" schools that were designed as places to prepare teachers, and as they expanded following the Civil War they offered a "license of instructions" -- not a bachelor's degree (Thelin, 2012). But these institutions were a boon to women because some were created specifically for women and in time the normal schools that were coeducational became schools with women as a majority.

Women Who Wanted to Become Attorneys -- A Struggle

In the Journal of Supreme Court History, author Jill Norgren explains that right after the Civil War, in 1865, there were women who aspired to become lawyers (Norgren, 2010). In some progressive states and counties there were judges that accepted women into the bar but the attitude towards allowing women into the field of law was quite negative overall. In 1873 Myra Bradwell…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Norgren, J. (2010). Ladies of Legend: The First Generation of American Women Attorneys

Journal of Supreme Court History, 35(1), 71-90.

Spillman, S. (2012). Institutional Limits: Christine Ladd-Franklin, Fellowships, and American Women's Academic Careers, 1880-1920. History of Education Quarterly,

52(2), 196-224.

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