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Women in Colonial Times

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Women in Colonial Times


Women have always played a major role in history. Despite the hardships, pain and trials most of the women experienced, they still succeeded in enduring some of the differences between their opposite sex. Throughout history, women have always been fighting for their freedom, thus this fight still goes on in this present time. Women had a great role in shaping America as what it is right now. They, not only the fact that took care of the welfare of their family, but also were responsible to the increase in the population of early settlers causing expansion, diverse ethnicity and distinct cultures among the early colonies.

In colonial times, men have always dominated the world not only in power but also in number. Multitudes of bachelors flooded the southern colonies and the longing for a wife dismantled a number of men out of their colony. Frequent deaths made by deadly diseases contributed to the decline on the number of women in the southern colony. The well-known Bacon's Rebellion was one of the effects of the frustration felt by majority of the men's population. In the late 1700's, settlers began to adopt their environment and created immunity among certain diseases. Women's population incline tremendously giving forth the rapid population growth. The need for land and shelter expanded the territories of the early colonies.

Unlike the southern colonies, the New England had a large women population. The women also experienced more freedom than those in the southern colonies or among the African -American slaves. These women constantly worked inside the house, caring for children and performing household chores. Marriages were done at an early age and reproduction was common. The death of a spouse led to remarriage. Children in colonial family were numerous. The amount of women and birthrate in a colony contributed to the growth of the population.

Women also greatly affected the religious condition of the society in New England. Most of the members of the Puritan congregation were women. Also, superstitions and made up stories by young women troubled the minds of early settlers in New England especially in Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem Witch Trial "reflected the widening social stratification of New England, as well as the anxieties of many religious traditionalists that the Puritan heritage was being eclipsed by Yankee commercialism." A number of innocent women were accused of performing witchcraft and were sentenced to death. These trials created tensions among the heads of the many colonies due to religion and social standing. After several years, these trials were prohibited and women again felt secured.

As a result of the exploration along the African coast and the establishment of slave trade in Europe, slave trade was then moved in to the New World. Because of the rapid development of plantations, tremendous amounts of African slaves were migrated. The Atlantic Slave Trade brought about abundant number of African slaves. Most of these were men that were acquired to work in plantations but a number female were also migrated to perform tasks around the house. African women suffered tremendously during the colonial times. They were obliged to accomplish multiple tasks ordered by their masters. Abuse, molestation, and constant threat were also factors that contributed to the hardships experienced by the African women. By 1720, the number of African women slaves increased making it viable for the formation of families. This notably contributed to the population growth. Inter-racial marriage also brought forth new, diverse and distinct cultures. A combined African- American culture created new traditions, which were passed from generations to generations up to this present time.

Due to the number and condition of women in the early colonies and among the slaves, history shifted a lot and brought about several unfortunate outcomes. This signifies the importance of women in the development, life and social structure of the early colonies.

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