Colonial Women Essay, Research Paper
Women during the Colonial Period
Carr and Walsh believe that the colonial age was indeed a ?Golden Age? for women in America. Although the re was not much evidence that women were powerful when it came to handling the estate of her husband, especially after his death. After the death of her husband, the woman is given one third of his land. Most times however, this land was later taken away once she remarried. Carr and Walsh also point out that there were fewer restraints on courtship in America than there were in England.
When looking at these facts one can only wonder if this was such a ?great age? for women. Mary Norton believes in fact that this was not a ?Golden Age: for women. Norton points out that women of this time were very limited when it came to freedom. Most women were maids or crop workers. They did not see much of other women, which made communication difficult. Since many women of that time could not read or write communication depended on a person to person transportation.
Norton also pints out three reasons as to why women suffered during this time. First, there was a significant imbalance in the sex ratio. Men out numbered women constantly throughout this time, in fact at its greatest difference there were six men to every woman. Next Norton points out that women had major economic contributions. Women contributed by processing food and cloth production. In fact historians have found that it is almost impossible for a man to run a colonial household without a wife. This simple fact suggests that women are the backbone of the household during this time. Lastly are sex roles. Research shows that sex roles were more fluid back then than they are today. In fact the tasks women were later defined as masculine jobs.
Since the woman was in the household a majority of her life. Children became very important. Most women were usually nursing or pregnant a majority of their mature life. Women tended to marry early which caused many problems. One problem that came out of early marriage is the fact that at age 15 or 16 women are still legally under their parents which made her virtually powerless in her own home. Another problem was health. Although childbirth was a main part of a woman?s life it was also part of her death. Women would become exhausted from watching children, being pregnant and still maintaining the daily chores of the household.
When comparing these two essays I find myself agreeing with Norton. She not only has many points to back up her decision, but she also looks at both old and new findings on this topic. Norton was also very easy to understand. When reading the essay written by Carr and Walsh, I was constantly struggling to follow their facts and beliefs.
However I believe there is one part that they agree on. They both talk about how important women are in the household, not only for chores, but also for decision making. They both agree on the fact that a household can not run as efficiently without a woman as it can with a woman.
Despite the common ground I still believe that Norton was absolutely correct when she stated that the colonial period was in fact not a ?Golden Age? for women in America.
Toward Good Thnking on Essential Questions by Howard Gardner pages 472-475 in Perspectiveson Argument third ed.by Nancy V. Wood