Family Life During The Pre-Colonial Period

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Social class shaped marriage, family life, and childhood in every way during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It determined ones standard of living, education, and other day to day activities. Slaves, ministers, and large plantation owners were no exception; because these groups were a part of different social classes they led very different life styles in regards to marriage, family life, and childhood during this time period. Slaves were on the bottom of the social ladder during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Childhood for a slave child was especially challenging. Childhood was often filled with hard labor, long work hours, and frequent splitting of families. Many children got seriously injured or died from carrying heavy workloads, beatings, or from lack of water/food. Because life was so hard for slave they created kinship networks. They would all act as family to one another. Children would call all adults “Aunt,” or “Uncle.” Through these kinship networks people would learn their heritage and other things like how to travel on the Underground Railroad through song and story. Marriage was…show more content…
From 1680- 1720 the sex ratio became more stable, life expectancy increased and there were closer parent/child ties. Before this time period the sex ratio was four to one, males to females. Malaria was very common and life expectancy was very short. Childhood was fairly good for these for children after the 1700’s. Parents viewed their children as enjoyable, often throwing them large parties/dances. Most parents were very relaxed in regards to childrearing compared to the puritans. Children were educated according to their gender. Marriage and family life was a patriarchy. In marriage husband and wife were to remain monogamous to each other. The wife lost her identity, property, and ability to represent herself when agreeing to marry, much like the
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