AP US History Colonial Women Analysis Essay

Essay by steff0xdHigh School, 11th gradeB+, January 2009

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The situations of women in colonial Virginia, stressing the differences between classes and the legal status of women were the same and different in many ways. The woman’s lifestyle depended solely on her rank in society, making her life easier or harder. Although this statement is true, the legal statuses of women were all the same, no matter what class she belonged to.

A woman’s daily life depended on how wealthy she was. If a woman was getting married, the process would differ depending on which class she is in. In colonial Virginia, marriage was not entirely a private affair. It was family business, the other members of the family would have a say into whether or not someone should be a part of their group. It was customary for a man to first get consent of a girl’s parents before he proposed. However, the majority population of small farmers and artisans gave their children freedom in this matter.

To the poor, marriage was simple and easy. This was because there was little at stake financially on either side. Marriages for the wealthy, on the other hand, were very much more complicated. The parents of the higher ranked families often took an active part in the decision making in their child’s marriage.

The life after marriage for the woman depended on her new husband’s lifestyle. If her husband was a simple farmer, she would have to do many chores and sometimes do part in her husband’s work. If she lived in the Valley married to a hard-working German farmer, she would have to work as well, but not nearly as much and she would live with security. But if she was unlucky enough to live on the southern frontier of Virginia, her life would have been much harder.