(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
The proper role and status of women was the subject of debate following the American Revolution. Some women argued that since women also supported the Revolutionary effort, they should also reap the benefits of America's newfound liberties. The prevailing sentiment however, was that women's sphere should remain a domestic one, and women's efforts should be focused on the intellectual and moral elevation of the family. It had been long recognized that women held great power to reform dishonorable husbands and raise moral children. The subject of this sermon is the proper role of the genders. It states that men are to operate in public circles, while women are to influence the world by transmitting a strong sense of religion to their children. The words of Reverend Lathrop reflect the widespread belief that women are naturally more pious and virtuous. Work by women in such religious organizations as the Charitable Female Association of West Springfield was widely viewed as an appropriate extension of women's "more humble sphere."