Roles Of Women In Colonial America

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Women in Colonial America
Colonial America was the basis of the American melting pot we now know so well. America was experiment in a new land. People from all over Europe and parts of Africa coming together and bringing their different cultures with them. One commonality in their cultures were roles women were expected to fill and their place in society. Women wore many hats; she should be a proper wife, a nurse to her family, a midwife to her community, faithful, obedient, a helpmate to her husband, and true to their namesakes, Mary, Faith, Patience, Mercy, Hope, Constance, Charity, etc...virtuous and religious.
The first colonial settlement, Jamestown, was primarily male, and women were scarce. Because of the lack of women, men made the
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Preachers would often quote the bible as reinforcement to women that god expected to obey their husbands much like they obeyed their parents. Women were punished for sins and unacceptable behavior, punishments that men were not subject to. If a woman was found unfaithful or adulterous she could be publicly humiliated, made to wear a scarlet letter or even put to death. Husbands were allowed to punish their wives and beatings were acceptable but husbands could be fined for cruelty. Women were considered fortunate if they had a kind husband who cared and provided for his family. If a woman’s husband was abusive or drunk, there was little she could do unless his behavior was noticed by the courts. Divorce was not common but did happen more often in Massachusetts where marriage laws considered it a civil …show more content…
A woman who was to be a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, was a woman held in high value. Although, bearing many children was thought to be a woman 's duty and was highly regarded, but pregnancy for colonial women was a terrifying time even for their husbands. Childbirth came with many dangers and risks for colonial women and the more children a woman had the higher the risk of maternal mortality. A woman was usually pregnant every two years from the time they were married until they reached menopause. Women would often prepare her own burial clothes along with the clothes for the new baby. Midwifery was a occupation that women cornered. When a woman was to give birth the women of the town and a midwife gathered to assist in the birth. Midwifes were very knowledgeable and had many techniques to correct all the problems that could arise during a birth. Due to their highly religious culture, it was commonly believed that the pain women felt during labor was a punishment by god for the sins of Eve. If a baby was born dead or had disfiguring birth defects, it was because of a sin the mother had committed and she was subject to

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