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What does the term "cult of domesticity" mean?

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Quick Answer

The cult of domesticity was a prevailing social system during the 19th century regarding middle-class women's roles in society in the United States and Great Britain. It posited the belief that women were better served in traditional roles as mothers and homemakers.

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Full Answer

The cult of domesticity promoted the idea of "true women," who maintain and practice piety, purity, submission and domesticity. These characteristics were promoted by preachers delivering sermons, women's magazines and religious texts. These ideas of "true women" were most heavily prevalent among white Protestants living in the northeastern United States. Godey's Lady's Book was one of the magazines that promoted the values of "true womanhood."

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