Children in Elizabethan England Essay

Children in Elizabethan England Essay

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When researching daily life in the Elizabethan Era, there were two prominent social classes throughout most of England. The upper or noble class families were akin to today’s upper class. However, the low-class families were much different from today’s low-class families. The gap between the two classes was so huge and a majority of England was impecunious. Most of the low class was orphans, abandoned wives, widows, the infirm, and the elderly. Each class, even the ones in the middle would despise anyone in a class lower than their own (Forgeng 21). Due to a lack of education, an overload of household responsibilities, and a lack of social acceptance, low-class Elizabethan English children were unable to flourish.
One of Queen Elizabeth’s accomplishments was the improvement of education she brought to England. At the beginning of her reign, about 20% of the population could sign their own name. When she passed, 60% of the population was able to write. Both girls and boys would be taught the skills appropriate for their rank in society at the age of six. No schooling was equal to another, and not everyone could get an education. The noble-class would be home schooled by England’s top educators. The middle-class children were able to attend public schools, which were not free. Education among low-class children was much harder to come by (Benson and Stock World Wide Web).
Most low-class children were not fortunate enough to be schooled. Instead, they would be taught basic social skills from their parents (Benson and Stock). If one was very intelligent they could earn a scholarship, and attend a grammar school. A child could attend a grammar school for 5-10 years, but any low-class students would only attend for one or two yea...


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...a replica of their own parents. If a child wanted to become more successful in life they would have had to trick someone into believing they were from a higher class and hope to get an apprenticeship from that individual. With the lack of education of the low class that would be extremely difficult and almost impossible. For these reasons and more Elizabethan low class children could not even imagine a life unlike the life of their parent.



Works Cited

Benson, Sonia G., and Jennifer York Stock, eds. "Daily Life in the Elizabethan Era." Gale Virtual Reference Library. Detroit UXL, 2007. Web. 21 Mar. 2011.
Forgeng, Jeffrey L. Daily Life in Elizabethan England. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara:
Greenwood Press, 2010.
Salisbury, Joyce E., and Lawrence Morris. "Children in England: 15th and 16th
Centuries." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

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