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Role Of Women During The Colonial Period

1026 words - 5 pages

The girls of the American colonies were educated in order to grow and become fitting wives. After a woman's homemaker education, she was ready for courtship. This took place at about 16 years of age. During this courtship, the woman did have full decision on which she was to marry. While it was ultimately up to her which man she would choose to spend her life with, her family did have some say. Before a man could date a girl, he would have to receive permission from her father. If he did not find the man fit to be married to his daughter, he would not permit the courtship to continue. If the family liked the man, they would put pressure on the girl to choose him. This idea of family ...view middle of the document...

They also worked in the fields tilling the land and farming. What the early explorers noted was the men were leisurely enjoying their lives hunting deer and animals, fishing and building homes for their families. Doing things that the noble class of Europe did in their leisure. The image of native women in Europe was established by stories and reports sent back to the homeland. As colonies started establishing themselves there was a skew in the ratio between men and women. The interests of the Virginia Company, the first company to establish settlement in the New World, was mining. Mining was soon determined to be a non-profitable investment, so the colonist quickly switched to tobacco farming in the Chesapeake region to make money. The primary workers for the Virginia Company were men, but as people stayed longer, women were seen as a way to help establish permanency in the colonies.Women were needed in the new settlements and the only way they were able to make the journey across to the colonies was to contract themselves out as indentured servants for 5-7 years. Every hand was needed to cultivate the tobacco daily from winter to the summer months. The conditions were less than hospitable for these newly transplanted European women, even for those that came from the lesser rungs of English society many of the indentured servants died from disease, but those who survived their indentured period were able to marry and have land with their husbands.The European woman's role was greatly affected by the formation of slavery. Women, who could not afford slave help, were often permanently put back into household duties. The day began with starting the fire, milking the cows, and creating cream and butter. She then spent the bulk of her morning preparing food...

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