Early American Women – Research Paper Example
The paper "Early American Women" is a perfect example of a history assignment. In colonial America, it was a necessity for everyone to work. The early colonies had to work very hard just to be able to sustain themselves and their families. In those times, women were seen as being weaker than men, mentally and physically. Men were expected to protect the opposite sex. Women had not the right to vote nor were they allowed a political position. In a family, the man’s vote was considered to be of the family’s. If her husband is not able to vote, the wife can make a vote in her husband’s name. Nevertheless, the housewives of colonial America also had her share of work by raising her children, preparing meals, doing much housework and knitting new clothes. The case of Rebecca Lukens was of no exception, for one, she returned home to take care of the siblings foregoing the time for her studies. Women were in short numbers during the colonial times, thus making them extremely valuable assets. If one were to become a widow, men would immediately jump at her feet in courtship. A strong and hard-working wife was essential for she is the glue that keeps her family together and stable. Lukens did fit this bill perfectly by taking the helm of business in 1817 when her husband died. Even her daughters had to pass the burden to their husbands as Gustaitis ( 1995) related “moreover, two of her daughters had married husbands who were well able to shoulder the firm's burdens”. Indeed, women of colonial America have to be resilient and strong for the cultural expectations at that time were in contrast to the prevailing economic conditions. A good example that would support this argument would be the Salem Witch trials of 1692. The Salem witch trials of 1692 caused much turmoil within the colonies of early America. When Europeans set foot on the “new world” they brought living supplies, tools, clothes, food, and the belief in witches. Many were accused of being witches and were executed after a short, one-sided trial. Most of the executions were dealt on women. According to an article in the Colonial Gazette, “Many of the accused were women, prompting some recent historians to suggest that charges of witchcraft were a way of controlling women who threatened the existing economic and social order.” The witch hunt was most rigorous in Salem, Massachusetts. The daughter and niece of Samuel Parris, the reverend of Salem Village, fell ill. The village doctor, William Griggs came to examine the two girls and declared the two as bewitched. Because of the false belief in witches, nineteen men and women were hung to death, one man was crushed, seventeen died behind bars, and many other lives were permanently changed. In light of these events, we gain valuable insights such as the strength and fortitude of American colonial women. A woman was expected to be coy and demure, yet she must take the place of her husband whenever something happens to him as in the case of Rebecca. It was those dire circumstances that forged a woman of steel. On the other hand, the Salem Witch trials also reveal that women must not cause so much threat to the social order lest they fall into the stereotype of “witches”. Indeed, life is very hard that time for women, however, the lessons they left in history remind us of the strength of character we have as a people.