For Tocqueville Americans educated their women by giving them freedom rather than exerting parental authority. Americans valued chastity because it promoted healthy commercial habits, kept families productive and helped in maintaining political stability, the key to prosperity proving that chastity was not due to religion alone but also had its secular origins.
This was not the case with European women. Nevertheless, they enjoyed unprecedented equality with their spouses for marriage was a contract between two mature, morally responsible and free adults. Tocqueville observed that American women despite their lack of formal political power were able to contribute to America’s freedom and prosperity because of the dignity and freedom in their personal lives.