Friday, June 24, 2011

A French Visitor, Alexis De Tocqueville on American Men and Women, 1831



Beneath the Apple Tree
by Daniel Ridgeway Knight
Pennsylvania, 1839-1924

"You do not see American women directing concerns outside the range of the family, or handling business dealings, or entering politics." … "Nor have Americans ever imagined that the result of democratic principle would be to overturn a husband’s authority or to introduce any ambiguity about who is in charge in the family." … "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."





13 comments:

Kate said...

I've reflected on these words often. Tocqueville hit the nail on the head. I just may re-read him this weekend. Thanks for the post.

MarkyMark said...

"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."

Mr. De Toqueville would NOT be able to say that today...

Anonymous said...

Mark. You are right. Since women have gone to the workplace instead of staying home, they have fallen off the pedestal where they were once admired for their homey ways.

LadyLydia said...

De Tocqueville saw women's dignity and honor at home as contributing to the prosperity of the nation. Women don't see it that way. They can't understand that they actually are contributing to the money problems when they work outside the home. Men won't work if the women take over the jobs, and the home is neglected and children are not taught. The besst thing women can do to increase their prosperity is to stay home.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps women were more faithful to the the creator of heaven and earth, read the bible and followed God more in the early 1800's where God was still revered and invited to be part of daily life and schooling.

Women have always figured ways to bring extra income into the home by cottage industry. Even today it is possible and popular to have a home office or home based business.

We have a choice in this country to return to our God and invite him to be part of our lives again.

His word says for us to come out from among them and be separate. I believe that refers to being separate from the ones who don't honor him. We can do that by bringing him back into our lives again. Christ should be on the pedestal not humans.

LadyLydia said...

Prosperity should not be the focus of a woman's life, but if she lives according to the duty dictated to her by scripture, prosperity seems to follow. Some people view prosperity as having a lot of money, but prosperity can be other things too. For example, a family may have little income, but no debt. That is progress these days.

LadyLydia said...

Women need to get back to being wives, mothers and homemakers and making their focus in life their families and their homes, instead of building careers. To have a long marriage and good children and a well kept house is a mark of achievement and success.

no spring chicken said...

Does this make anyone else nervous? Perhaps De Tocqueville understood what our nation needs better than we moderners... And he called these women superior.

Blessings, Debbie

Anonymous said...

I watched the change in a neighbor's family. At first the husband worked and took classes with his place of employment to get ahead. He did this advancing three times. He did not make a large salary but they were frugal and things went along smoothly. Then the wife decided to get a part time job when the children went into the middle school years. That is when the husband stopped trying to get ahead and started to feel complacent. Why should he work extra hard when with her job bringing in money. The requirements kept changing in her job bringing with it much stress. Now she is working 4 days and she is looking for a full time job as they need more money. She is very stressed trying to keep up with work and home and her families needs. She no longer picks up a book or does the embroidery she once loved. Some of the housework has to slide. How will it be once she is working 40 hours a week? Sarah

Anonymous said...

To add to the story I wrote about a neighbor I noticed another neighbor. When they got married they both worked. When the first baby was born she quit work. She is still home and they have two children now. They are private people and I would not dream of prodding them but I have observed some things. Her husband seems to have found little ways to help with finances. He works for a large place and everyone saves pop cans for him . He gets a large amount. The pay back on cans here is high. He regularly brings cans home and takes them in for probably a tidy sum to the recycler. He also does some auto repair for friends. They eat at home and entertain friends with dinner outside putting tables on the lawn under the trees. I am sure they have other ways to help her stay home. They always seem so happy and relaxed. Sarah

LadyLydia said...

Debbie, it is unsettling to read of the description of women a hundred years ago and see how far away from it women have gone. Some women are not even recognizable. They look like men. The women of the era of de Tocqueville were praised for being at home.

LadyLydia said...

Sarah,

there is a woman in this area that has lived in a similar way. She and her husband bought a tiny house but it had land around it so they grew a lot of food and fruit trees, berries and potatoes. As their children were born and grew, the house seemed awfully small and people kept asking them if they were going to move or build a bigger house. She stayed as she was, patiently caring for the house. Her husband worked long hours and eventually the children grew up and left home. The two of them are now living alone again in that small house. In the meantime they saved up a sum of money. She never went to work outside the home but she had lots of interests and lots of friends, and she used the family car when her husband was home if she needed to go out. They entertained at home and their vacations were short car trips. Like the couple you know, these people always seemed relaxed and content.

Anonymous said...

Re: DeTocqueville 1831: Fast forward to 2011 - The sour grapes that the fathers have eaten have set their children's teeth on edge, the women have lost their balance and their stomachs are churning and De Tocqueville is spinning in his grave.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...