Women In Colonial America


Experience of women in the colonies in the America continents are the least said or learn in many courses, but it becomes so important to learn since history is not worth to be ignored. With an account, we could learn in predicting the future based on the sequence and the effects of the occurrences. These experiences were always influenced by the culture, which seemed to be influenced by their countries of origin, their religion, and some were influenced by their cultural beliefs. Arrival of the colonialist from Western European nations encountered some inhabitants cultures in these regions, those who happened to be the natives of those lands like in New England, and southern colonies were there were the Red Indians (Payne, 1873). As time goes, these Europeans happened to have some slight changes in their cultures as a result of interactions with the natives and even change in political dimensions also brought some change of culture that gave women some power that was restricted by their indigenous cultures. The primary purpose of this essay is to explain the difference in women role in New England colony and the middle colonies, describing the legal rights of women had in the colonial time and the difference in life between the native settlers and the Puritan women.

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In the northern colonies like the New England, the Puritans settlers who were strong Christians, Anglicans in denomination through the church of England and were great opponents to Queen Elizabeth 1, there belief as Christians made some influence in their culture especially to the women (Bremer, 2013). These Puritan religious rules dictate that women were inferior to men and were answerable to men at any cost; they were to act as “God-fearing” to the best of their ability. The women never worked in the agricultural fields since that was not allowed in a local English Law. Since the puritans were from England, this was applied in any English colonies across America. They were not allowed to read and write, but some circumstances made the read since they were required to read the bible and so,e were taught to write (Bremer, 2013). English Women in both central and New England were expected to run the household and do domestic duties like sewing, spinning, food preservation, cooking, cleaning, raising children, and animal husbandry.

Unlike the Northern colonies occupied by English power, the middle was a mixture of other European powers like Germany, the Dutch and the French. In these middle colonies like Pennsylvania and the Hudson area, women in these colonies were different from the British women in some chores like the Germans, and the Dutch allowed their women to take control over the properties, they owned their clothes and many items, these authorities were not allowed by the English Laws in any of the English colonies (Payne, 1873). With the abilities of this central colony women, they were allowed to read and write simply because they had to read and write a will when disposing of their properties.

In the middle colonies where the natives were living like Virginia, these native women had some responsibilities like hard labor in the agricultural fields, like the Pochohontas tribe women were superior to men according to their belief and they could not even share the same eating place. The arrival of the European in the middle colonies changed some of the women perspectives in the natives where they were taught weaving, spinning, and even the new religion.

Legal Rights of a Woman

Women and widowed woman had the right to own the property of the deceased husband even make legal arrangements after getting married for the second time. Women had rights to defend themselves in front of the colonial judge when guilty (Payne, 1873), the Salem witch trial and a slave woman called Mary Aggie was the first slave female to do defend her right as a black woman slave. Lastly, women were allowed to have a right of land ownership in the middle colonies, and one example was Hannah Bennett Turner, the only surviving daughter of his father whom she inherited his land.



Bremer, F. J. (2013). The Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to Edwards. Lebanon, NH: UPNE.

Payne, E. J. (1873). History of European Colonies.