The Different Role of Women in Colonial Period

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Kayla Ribar HIST 2055 First Generations- Berkin 25 September 2012 The different roles of women in the colonial period. Since the beginning of time, women have been seen as the “lesser beings” of mankind. Known for their lack of “willpower”, they were seen as sinful creatures by nature. Lead by deception and temptation, they were thought to need a strong man to protect and to guide them. From this belief “that woman were the weaker and inferior sex” gender roles were established. It was generally known that a man’s duty was to provide, to protect, and to direct, while a woman’s general duty was to serve, procreate, and establish a household. From this division in roles, came a division in labor and the pre-assigned lives with which we are familiar with today. In the book First Generations, Carol Berkin delivers a detailed account of the different types of women living in the colonial period and the roles they fulfilled. In a time when England was dramatically changing, certain types of groups were being oppressed, values as well as morals were shifting, and the city was becoming crowded. Desperate to find a solution, England decided to send its people into the “new world”, which would later become known as America. Most of these people who came to America were poor and on their own. Since most individuals traveled alone, this created a skewed sex ratio; America was dominated and populated with males. In response to that, England began sending over “tobacco brides”. These women who came were entitled to 58 acres of land, which, at the time, was a huge incentive for an English woman who could not own property back home. But these “tobacco brides” faced many hardships and with their hardships came a certain style of living. Chesapeake is where most “tobacco brides” came to live or moved farther down south. Living in Chesapeake was an entirely new world compared
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