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Eliza Lucas Pinckney - Research Paper Example

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What Lucas Pinckney is best remembered for is indigo—blue dye—one of the colors of the American flag and the most American of clothing, blue jeans. Not that she slaved over a pot of bubbling blue dye, coloring fabric. No, she had slaves to do that dirty, hot job. …
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Eliza Lucas Pinckney
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Download file to see previous pages Not that she grew the indigo plant that made the blue dye either. That job also was done by Lucas Pinckney’s slaves. She gets credit for asking her father to send her indigo seeds, which she instructed her slaves to plant. People also give her credit for figuring out a way to process the dye into stackable storable cakes so that it could be shipped across the Atlantic to Great Britain and Europe where other women then were employed to stand over bubbling pots of blue liquid dying textiles. However, at least some of the credit for that should probably go to her slaves too, but usually does not. What Lucas Pinckney does deserve credit for perhaps is the way she persuaded the people enslaved by her and her family to cooperate in making indigo a lucrative business.
Lucas Pinckney’s father, a wealthy British Army officer and governor of Antigua, moved his family to South Carolina when Lucas Pinckney was fifteen. Lucas owned plantations in Antigua and in the Low Country of South Carolina. The latter he left for Lucas Pinckney to supervise when she was only seventeen as he and his sons were called to war. Lucas Pinckney’s mother had an unknown illness because even though she was still alive, she is not mentioned as having much authority in supervising the plantation nor her daughter for that matter. Lucas Pinckney’s education is attributed to her father. Kristin Thomas Iden quotes “Harriet Simons Williams [who] suggests that Col. Lucas’s influence in his daughter’s education is present through her mirroring of his intellectual values[:] ‘One of his most distinctive traits, which his daughter acquired, was a desire to see himself and those around him usefully employed. She had his taste for trying “schemes.” She also acquired from him a devotion to his library.”1 Having attended school in England, Eliza was well-educated and not only competent, but also confident. She differed greatly from her contemporary counterparts who were usually married with children by the age of seventeen. Another way she differed was how she viewed her place in society. At the time, the Great Awakening, evangelical religious fervor, was spreading throughout colonial America. To most of those who lived in Colonial America, religion was vital. After all, the freedom to practice it in the way one saw fit was a motivating factor in the establishment of the British colony so far from home. “Pinckney’s religious views reflected those of most Southern Anglicans, who valued the rational exercise of religion. As the Great Awakening began its move to the South in the 1740s, Pinckney appears to have remained unaffected; her letter illustrates that she continued to emphasize a rational piety, a view that Pinckney perceived as rooted in God’s Word.”2 Most women accepted that prevailing religious view that women should be in submission to God and their husbands or fathers regardless of whether they were Anglican or evangelical. While educated women read at the time, proper reading material consisted of “advice literature and sermons which installed and perpetuated a highly stratified social hierarchy, accepted a subordinate social status.” Not only that, since the south was entirely dependent on slavery, another hierarchical system, “white women, identifying with and desiring the protection of the white male, used reading and writing as a means to support the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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