Wednesday, March 24, 2010

French Women of the 1800s much like todays modern woman

My son is reading Democracy in America by Alexander De Tocqueville. He was a French man who came to the Americas in the 1830s to study the American Government.  
In the chapter titled: How the Americans View with Equality of Men and Women, De Tocqueville contrasts women of Europe with the women of America.

"There are Europeans who confuse the various characteristics of the sexes and would make of men and women beings not only equal but alike. To both, they attribute the same functions equally, impose on them the same duties and grant them the same rights. They would involve them both in everything- work, pleasure, business. It is easy to see that, in the ambition to make the one sex equal to the other, both are demeaned and that, from this crude mixing of nature's works, will emerge weak men and immodest women."  

When I read this quote, I was astounded at how much this describes the situation we find in America, 2010. The ratio of men to women in college is sickening. Currently, about 58% of college campuses are women. The number of men who are going to college is dropping each year. How much we have become like Europe of the 1830s!

The author goes on to note that American people have a very contrasting view of women to those views of the Europeans.

"Their [Americans] idea is that since nature has established such a great variation in the physical and moral make-up of men and women, and she clearly intended to give different employment to their different faculties. They have concluded that progress would not be achieved by having dissimilar creatures doing the same jobs but by enabling each of them to accomplish their respective tasks as effectively as possible."

Hmmm...."progress would not be achieved by having dissimilar creatures doing the same jobs..."

"America is the one country where the most consistent care has been taken to trace clearly distant spheres of action for the two sexes and where both are required to walk at an equal pace but along paths that are never the same. You do not see American women directing concerns outside the range of the family, or handling  business dealings, or entering politics."

Wow! this does not sound like the America I live in!!

"I have noticed that American women considered the husband's authority as a lucky encroachment on their rights or that they believed that they degraded themselves by submitting to it. Rather, it appeared to me that they derived a sort of pride in the willing surrender of their wishes and that they felt their stature increased by their bending to this yoke and not seeking to escape from the United States you do not hear any adulterous wife noisily claiming the rights of women even as she tramples under foot the most sacred of her duties".

After this he goes on to explain how the women are treated as equal in intelligence and freedoms. She is viewed as virtuous and treated as such by all men in America.

"America....still punish rape by death. And no other crime is prosecuted with the same relentless severity by public opinion. The explanation is this: Americans have nothing they value and respect more than a woman's honor and independence, they consider no punishment too harsh for those who deprive her of both against her will. In France, where this same offense is subject to much milder penalties, it is often difficult to find a juty to convict. Would that indicate scorn for a woman's modesty or her person? I cannot help believing that it is both". 
I don't know about you, but I am under the strong impression that according to this historical account, we have become like France during the time of Alexander De Tocqueville.

In conclusion the author notes, "Thus  Americans do not believe that men and women have the duty or the right to perform the same things but they show the same regard for the role played by both and they consider them as equal in worth, although their lot in life is different".

In conclusion , De Tocqueville states " I have recorded so many considerable achievements in the Americans, if I am asked how we should account for the unusual prosperity  and growing strength of this nation, I would reply that they must be attributed to the superiority of their women".

Sadly, I would have to agree that much of the downfall that we are experiencing in our nation today, is from this shift away from our God ordained roles. God created us in his image, but we were made distinctly with gender roles, neither of which is more important than the other.

I am so glad that my son is reading this book and what a rich and truthful history he is getting because he is reading REAL history and not a government social studies book that only publishes what is "politically correct". Much of history in the public school system is not "historically correct".

If you want to read this chapter for yourself, here it is free. It is however a slightly different translation.

To read a very satisfying account on the roles of woman, according to how we were created, I strongly recommend Passionate Housewives Desperate for God.

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