How Did Patterns Of Family Life And Attitudes Toward Women Differ From The Northern And Southern Colonies?
How did patterns of family life and attitudes toward women differ in the northern and southern colonies?
In the Chesapeake colonies of the South, women primarily served the purpose of bearing children. An unbalanced ratio between men and women meant that few women remained unwed for long, and women gave birth on average every two years and had an average of eight children each if they lived long enough. These women were rarely able to raise their children by themselves, as childbirth was one of the most common causes of death for women. Those who were able to raise their children often did so without the aid of their husbands, as they were much younger than those who they married and thus outlived them.
In the New England colonies, family structures were significantly more stable, as the sex ratio was more balanced, and death rates declined quickly. Women still gave birth to many children from a young age, but those children were more likely to survive than in the Chesapeake, and families were more likely to stay intact; fewer women became widows, and most of those who did lost their husbands at a later time in their lives. The prolonged presence of families affected children in their aspects of life, such as marriage traditions and the inheritance of land. Wives and families were placed in a higher value than in the Southern colonies, but women were expected to fully devote themselves to the needs of their family.
In the Southern colonies,…