Inconsistent Roles Essay

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Inconsistent Roles

The Colonial era spans nearly two hundred years with each settlement in the New World containing distinctive characteristics. Location in the new world is one factor that shaped women’s lives but religion and economics also played a massive role. These roles however were constantly changing and often contradicting. Since there is numerous factors that contributed to the shaping of women’s private and public roles in the seventeenth and eighteenth century it is impossible to categories all colonial woman in one group. Some historians refer to this period as the golden age of women; however, I tend to see this period as oppressive, with only few examples of women exercising social and public powers.

The vast amount
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Land rights were restricted and the reestablishment of traditional gender roles emerged reverting to the “old way.”
Patriarchy deepened with the southern man regarding himself as the lord of his domain, the master of his home. White southern women envied urban women because of the common belief that the household duties of the northern colonies were not as laborious.

In contrast to the south New England colonies of the seventeenth century women did not come as indentured servants but rather with families to form a little commonwealth. The Puritans of New England created a patriarchal pattern of authority in which women played virtually no public role. The family structure was based on subordinate-superordinate relationships where the father was the unquestioned head of the Puritan household, to whom both his wife and children owed obedience. The ideal woman was a wife and mother. These roles of wife and mother could be extremely different between differing northern families. Beatrice Plummer of Newbury, Massachusetts lived an active life diligently performing her household duties. Upon inspection of her home after her passing her and her husbands diet and lifestyle could easily be predicted. Besides the expected cooking and daily fires Beatrice engaged in numerous seasonal responsibilities. Autumn was the season of slaughtering, “Beatrice could well have killed the smaller pigs herself, holding
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