While often behind the scenes and hidden from history, women in 1800s America worked side by side with men in building our nation. On the frontier, strong, capable women worked as hard--or harder--than their men-folk, taming the land and raising the crops while shouldering the responsibilities of keeping house and caring for the children. The life of the farm wife in the settled parts of the country was one of sunup to sundown labor in an era with few modern conveniences. And in urban areas, working-class women were a major part of the workforce in an industrializing economy, while middle- and upper-class women influenced America's social movements, supported charities, and helped beautify the gritty cities. In the course of the 1800s, new labor-saving technologies in the home, improved health conditions, greater economic and educational opportunities, and a growing sense of their rights helped to empower women and started the movement toward full equality with men that continues to this day.
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