The Atlantic on Women and Men, From 1859 to Now

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American gender relations have undergone big changes in the last century and a half—and The Atlantic has chronicled some of the major milestones along the way.

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The Atlantic

In the early winter months of 1859, an essay in The Atlantic noted that a subtle yet seismic shift had taken place in the United States.

"In this country, the vast changes of the last twelve years are already a matter of history," it read. "State after State has ushered into legal existence one half of the population within its borders. Every Free State in the American Union, ... has conceded to married women, in some form, the separate control of property." Back then, some considered it almost treasonous that a married woman could hold the same property rights as her husband.

One hundred and fifty-three years later, a discussion of why married women couldn't have everything married men had arose in the wake of Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic cover story "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."

It's been a remarkable century and a half for gender rights in the United States. From the 1859 essay "Ought Women to Learn the Alphabet?" to Hanna Rosin's "The End of Men" and Slaughter's "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," The Atlantic has chronicled the changing dynamics between women and men in America. Here are some highlights:

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Ashley Fetters is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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