The Role Of Women In Good Wives By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Women have played an important part in society for many years. In Good Wives, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explores the roles of women in seventeenth and eighteenth century New England. Ulrich explains both the duties that women were expected to fulfill, as well as the realities of daily life. Ulrich’s account demonstrates the complicated way in which different roles created or limited possibilities for women in Colonial New England. Overall, the account enables the reader to actually experience the lives of seventeenth century New England women.
Ulrich’s account, Good Wives, has been classified as a topical social history and she provides many characteristics that help to describe it as such. A topical social history is known as a study of the systems
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Society expected women to follow these rules. These rules were created through the beliefs of seventeenth century people. Therefore, they included many things that made women subjective to men as well as things that made women seem inferior to men. Three rules women were expected to follow were; the Rule of Industry, the rule of Charity, and the Rule of Modesty. The Rule of Industry was the reason women worked. This rule was the motive behind all of their tasks. While the women didn't directly work, they fed and clothed the men who did. Therefore, a good wife was expected to always be busy with her household. The rule of charity stood for what was called neighborly concern. Neighborly concern was the basic willingness to help others and to do so before helping oneself. For example, wealthy women understood the Rule of Charity meant “hand-to-hand relief if poor neighbors. The Rule of Modest was simply that women were expected to be extremely modest, but to the people of the seventeenth century it was all but simple. Wearing clothes above your status, which you would naturally be associated with according to wealth, was considered to be immodest. For example, silk scarves were only to be worn by women whose husbands worth was above others. Accordingly, women were to only reflect and never assert status, as asserting status was too considered immodest. These rules strictly governed what women were to

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