The cult of domesticity
Most husbands worked during this time period to support the entire family. It was assumed that the world of work, the public sphere, was a rough world and women did not belong in it. According to etiquette manuals and domestic handbooks of this time, a women's duty was centered around the household. The "true woman" was pious, pure, domestic , and submissive. This limited women’s options for work, education, voicing opinions, and for supporting reform.
19th century artwork
Paintings and other forms of art during this time period, often romanticized women's role as mothers.
“Home-making is as natural to women as it is for birds to fly, or fishes to swim. When we see eagles taking to the water, and fishes floundering over the meadows, we may expect to see true women seeking happiness outside the home.”