Although most women did not earn money for their labor, they worked long hours in their homes in the early 1800s.
Even middle-class women who had servants to help them were kept busy doing laundry, cleaning, sewing, cooking, and caring for their children.
There were no automatic washers or dryers or even sewing machines before the mid-1840s.
Many women lived on farms, where in addition to doing all the housekeeping, they helped with such chores as milking the cows and feeding the chickens. They also canned some of the food they raised for winter.
Although their specific duties varied from tribe to tribe, early 19th-century Native American women continued to do what they had always done: planting and harvesting crops, gathering wood or buffalo dung for fires, cooking, and caring for their children.
Many women also built their own homes and made their own pots and blankets.
Women of Spanish descent, who lived in parts of America that still belonged to Mexico, also spent much of their time cm domestic and farm-related work.
A few women worked as llaveras (keepers of the keys), distributing supplies and overseeing domestic activities at the Spanish missions in California and the Southwest.
Until the Civil War in the 1860s, close, to 90 percent of African American women had no choice in what they did because they were held in slavery in the South.
Through her writings, Catharine Beecher instructed hundreds of women in household work.
Although she strongly supported training women to be teachers, she did not support women’s right to vote.