Women's Rights in Colonial America Term Paper by Nicky

A look at women's rights prior to the Revolutionary War and during slavery.
# 150546 | 940 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Mar 05, 2012 in African-American Studies (Slavery) , Women Studies (General)

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The paper discusses how in colonial America, women took care of the house and family but had little say in other matters. The paper then describes the mistreatment of slave women including their forced labor, their use as sexual objects and their lack of freedom in marrying and raising a family. The paper points out that while white colonial women were not enslaved, they had no rights like the black slave women.

From the Paper:

"In colonial America, women had few rights. They spent their lives having children, raising them, and taking care of their homes. One writer notes, "Women's adult lives, at least between the ages of 20 and 45, and sometimes earlier, was characterized by motherhood: Most women, most of the time, were either pregnant or nursing, and sometimes both" (Brewer 1). As for rights, colonial women had few. They could not hold political office, and they were not allowed to be lawyers. They were not banned from the trades, but few women engaged in them. Women could not own property, and they were treated much like the property of their husband. The Common Law, adapted from English law, actually gave most all rights to the husband, and if a husband died, the rights reverted to the sons or the new husband. Women did not have control of their possessions, and they had no control over the laws and courts. While they were free, they had about as many rights as slaves and servants of the time.
"Women's lives revolved around childbirth and child rearing. They had large families because death rates were much worse in colonial times. Author Brewer states, "On average, women had 9 children, of whom between 5-7 (depending on region) survived to adulthood. The number of children who died was greater in the South" (Brewer 1). Women had far less time to work in the fields or carry on a business, because they were occupied with taking care of a home and large families."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brewer, Holly. "Women in Colonial America." North Carolina State University. 2009. 29 Sept. 2009.<http://www.dlt.ncssm.edu/lmtm/docs/women_col_am/script.pdf>.
  • Ramey, Daina L. "Slave Women." Michigan State University. 2009. 29 Sept. 2009.<http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-841>.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Women's Rights in Colonial America (2012, March 05) Retrieved September 30, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/women-rights-in-colonial-america-150546/

MLA Format

"Women's Rights in Colonial America" 05 March 2012. Web. 30 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/women-rights-in-colonial-america-150546/>