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Gender in the Colonial period - Essay Example

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This research paper examines the role of women in colonial America and how the religious Puritanical system of the time defined women’s rights and duties within that society. It describes the Puritans as a society that followed the patriarchal teachings of the Bible…
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Gender in the Colonial period
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Download file to see previous pages For instance, mothers were trusted and expected to pass along the teachings of the Puritans and Christianity to the children. Husbands could, and often did, entrust their wives to handle various legal and financial matters of the household or family farm but the extent of power the wife possessed always remained at her husband’s discretion. Wives that happily accepted their role and conformed to Puritan societal standards were openly referred to and addressed as ‘goodwife.’ However, the authoritative figure in the family and throughout all facets of Puritan society was clearly the man. The only role that wives served in the male dominated public psyche was caring for children and completing household chores, at all times subordinate to their husbands. Though it was customary for Puritan men to show a general respect for women and they were thought of as handy helpmates in the household, the majority of men were deeply suspicious of women. Thought of as the physical, intellectual and emotionally weaker gender, they were thus more likely to give in to the temptations of the Devil. Women were the images of Eve, lustful for sexual gratification, power and money. This common view of Puritan men “made women susceptible to charges of witchcraft, particularly those who stood to inherit large estates that would have endowed them with uncommon economic influence” (Karlsen, 1987: 52). The Puritan ideology included an intense belief that the devil endeavored to tempt Christians from following God’s laws. According to Puritanical beliefs, they are responsible to observe and then eliminate the presence of evil in society. “The problems that the first...
This research paper tells us about the role of a woman during the period of Puritanical system. The authoritative figure in the family and throughout all facets of Puritan society was clearly the man. The only role that wives served in the male dominated public psyche was caring for children and completing household chores, at all times subordinate to their husbands. Thought of as the physical, intellectual and emotionally weaker gender, they were thus more likely to give in to the temptations of the Devil. Women were the images of Eve, lustful for sexual gratification, power and money. The Puritan ideology included an intense belief that the devil endeavored to tempt Christians from following God’s laws. According to Puritanical beliefs, they are responsible to observe and then eliminate the presence of evil in society. In the early days, immediately following the Puritans’ arrival in America, women exercised some considerable freedom, especially if unmarried, to take up professional positions among the colonies. As the educational requirements for these types of positions increased, women’s inability to obtain the proper education prevented them from entering these fields. Because women were not generally sent to higher education centers, typically obtaining only the ability to read among their other subjects which rotated around becoming a good housewife and mother, most women were forced to work in professions that consisted of factory labor, home maintenance (maids), seamstresses or other menial tasks. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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