Women in Colonial America

Women in Colonial America

When women first arrived to the new colonies, many did not have the money to pay in order to get off the boat. This forced them into 4-5 years of servitude. Women would then be free to search for a husband. In Colonial America, the social status of citizens was based on financial standings, ethnicity, and religious beliefs. Social class was a determining factor of opportunities available to women. They had considerably greater rights than their counterparts in England, however women faced the strict rules and discrimination of a predominantly Puritan society.

Education in the colonial era was highly dependent on the financial prosperity of individual families. Most could not afford to send their children to school, however wealthier families could afford to send their daughters to primary school to learn basic skills including the alphabet, reading, writing, and womanly chores such as sewing and knitting. Boys had the opportunity to further their education past the basics; however, young girls often were not granted this privilege. Women possessing higher education were often considered unusual. This was detrimental to their likelihood of finding a suitable husband.

Women primarily undertook the role of being a mother from a considerably young age. Prejudice views prevented many women from holding office let alone playing influential public roles. Most men in the colonial era were farmers or merchants, very few having careers in the medical or law fields. Women seldom held jobs of higher nobility, yet a fraction practiced the trades of their husband or served as midwives. Religion in the colonial era emphasized women balancing the roles of mothering and serving their husband as an idealistic wife. ...

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...e women served as letter deliverers and warned the militia.

Ideas of the Constitution and equal rights were formulated after the war. Laws of total male dominance were became less significant theories as the primary roles of women in society were redefined. Abigail Adams wrote a letter to congress entitled, “Remember the Ladies.” Higher levels of education became available to girls of wealthy families after the war. The unfathomable notion of female superiority and advanced education was in the process of being accepted. The meaning of equality was redefined as women strived to be viewed as equal to their male counterparts.

Works Cited

"Gender and Sexuality in Colonial America." Gender and

Sexuality in Colonial America. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.

"H-Net Reviews." H-Net Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.
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