Victorian America: Women Control Happiness At Home

Victorian America: Women Control Happiness At Home

“Women control happiness at home.” So stated The Intelligencer of Anderson, South Carolina on March 23, 1876.

“Women Control Happiness at Home.” Published in The Intelligencer of Anderson, South Carolina, on March 23, 1876.

Evidenced by the perspective of this newspaper article writer, women either make or break the happiness in a home by ensuring she applies her “exquisite tact”, exercising the especial characteristic endowed upon her as a female. For women who love their husbands and children will ensure their happiness by ensuring their families’ comfort, and right performance of the “trifles” (little things) which “make the sum of human things”. Oooooo-kay.

Naturally, women of today see things differently. But as  glimmer of comprehension about how Victorian Americans viewed the roles of men and women, this article and its viewpoint proves educational.

Pre-Victorian attitudes about the role of wives is touched upon in an almost poetic manner in an article titled THE WIFE, published in Statesman and Gazette of Natchez, Mississippi on January 3, 1827. I transcribed, word-for-word, with spellings as they are printed. [sic]

THE WIFE.–How sweet to the soul of man (says Hierocles) is the society of a beloved wife! When wearied and broke down by the labor of the day her endearments soothe, her tender cares restore him. The solicitudes and anxieties, and the heaviest misfortunes of life, are hardly to be born by him who has the weight and business of domestic cares at the same time to contend with: but how much lighter do they seem, when, after his necessary avocations are over, he returns to his home and finds there a partner of all his griefs and troubles, who takes for his sake her share of domestic labors upon her, and soothes the anguish of anticipation. A wife is not, as she is falsely represented and esteemed by some, a burden or sorrow to man. No, she shares his burdens, and she alleviates his sorrows; for there is no difficulty so insupportable in life, but it may be surmounted by mutual labours of the affectionate concord of that holy partnership.

~ Statesman and Gazette of Natchez, Mississippi on January 3, 1827.

The Wife.–Transcribed [sic] as presented in Statesman and Gazette of Natchez, Mississippi on January 3, 1827. Digital scan is difficult to read, so this original is not meant to be large enough to suffice.

Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC

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