Marriage Certificate

Creator: Unknown

Context: This 1848 print appeared at a time when many middle-class and wealthy Americans believed women had natural abilities to nurture families and build a home that was a safe refuge from the aggressive public world of men.

Audience: This print was published by Currier and Ives, which produced cheap and popular pictures designed to reach a wide audience.

Purpose: To highlight the marital requirements of men and women. This document emphasized men's dominant role and women's subservient one in the marriage.

Historical Significance: This document illustrates the dominant beliefs about the respective roles of men and women in American society during the mid-1800s. It also reveals the obstacles faced by the promoters of women's rights, who held their first major convention this same year.