The story of Lizzie Borden revolves around one of the most sensational unsolved crimes in American history. Andrew and Abby Borden, Lizzie’s father and stepmother, were killed in a horrifying double axe murder. Their violent deaths occurred in the nineteenth century, at a time when women were ruled by the heavy hand of patriarchy, and still had no legal rights. Also in this era, the Women’s Suffrage movement emerged as a powerful force that began to shift society toward greater freedom and legal protections for women. As I looked deeply into the Borden case, I discovered numerous murderous women in the Victorian era whose circumstances echoed elements of Lizzie’s story. They, too, struggled with harshly restrictive laws and cultural norms that deprived them of so much. Did these unendurable pressures and expectations drive all of them to murder?
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