The Changing Roles of Women

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The Changing Roles of Women Life in the American colonies between 1600 and 1780, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was profoundly influenced by the nearness of the people and the soil. During the colonial period, even the largest cities were never vary far removed from the backcountry farms that supported them with agricultural and household industry products. Townspeople were in close daily contact with farmers for their survival. Farmers relied on the nearest town to market their goods, and city dwellers or merchants relied on goods produced from the farm to maintain their businesses. (Wright 2) The interdependency of these cultures and family units ensured physical survival for all involved. Only the family unit itself made survival during these times economically feasible due to the vast territory between farms, cities, and the lack of infrastructure. Society and the economy at the time were geared only to accept family units, and not the single individual due to the unsettled environment of the colonies. If there were free single men or women employed by households or businesses this was rare. The role of women in this society was critical to its success, although much has not been written regarding their critical roles and their contributions. Men cleared the land and women saw to the household and reproduction needs of the family. Both functions and roles supported one another and were paramount to the family’s survival. The basic family unit included the husband, wife, children, and slaves or apprentices. This family unit might include children from previous marriages, and apprentices might be neighbors or related family members. (Crawford 74) Of particular interest were women and their r... ... middle of paper ... ...r efforts and strength make me proud to be of their descent. Bibliography: Booth, Sally Smith. The Women of ’76. New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1973. Crawford, Deborah. Four Women in a Violent Time. New York: Crown Publishers, 1970. Evans, Sara M. Born for Liberty – A History of Women in America. New York: Free Press Paperback, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc., 1989 Ferguson, Robert A. The American Enlightenment 1750-1820. London, England: Harvard University Press, 1997 Jacob, Margaret, and Mack, Phyllis. Women and the Enlightenment. New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 1984 Rogers, Katherine M. Early American Women Writers. New York: Meridian, 1991 Wright, Louis B. The Cultural Life of the American Colonies 1607-1763. New York: Harper & Row, 1957 Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of Rights of Women. England, 1791
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