Women in colonial times

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  • Publicado : 25 de noviembre de 2011
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During the 18th century, the women’s role and work was extremely difficult, exhausting, and society was unappreciative. For poor families in colonial times, women’s full time job washomemaking. Poor housewives had to cook meals, make clothing, and doctor their family on top of cleaning, making household goods to use and sell, taking care of their animals, maintaining a fire andeven tending to the kitchen gardens. Middle class and wealthy women also shared some of these chores in their households, but they often had servants to help them.
Both men and women had greatsocial pressure on them to marry. Young girls were often married by the age of 13 or 14 and if women weren’t married by the age of 25, it was socially humiliating. Marriage was mostly foreconomic benefits, not romantic situations. Widows were also pressured to get married as soon as possible. Even in some states, laws were proposed that would force widows to marry within 7 yearsafter their husband’s death. Widows, however, were often married within a year if not sooner. Women were considered legally dead once they were married under common. Once married, they legallybecame one with their husbands. Married women had no control of their earnings, inheritance, property, and also could not appear in court as a witness nor vote. Their husbands, therefore, wereresponsible for all aspects of their wife including discipline. Widows were better off. They had control over their property, but could only receive up to one-third of her late husband’s property.A widow could also vote in some areas, but often widows were not aware of this fact or chose not to. Husbands could legally beat their wives. If a woman ran away from her husband, she wasconsidered a thief because she was stealing the clothes she was wearing and herself. If a man murdered his wife, he would be hung. If a woman murdered her husband, she would be burned alive.
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