Patriachy in Colonial America

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB, October 1996

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Colonial America began as an offspring of the English patriarchal government. The first settlers could not imagine a society that could be both self sufficient and independent from English control. The colonists simply accepted its role on the bottom of the social and political hierarchy. They relied on their intense work ethic and their desire to practice their own religion without interference. Motivated by their Protestant ethic, the American colonies broke free from the grasp of the English patriarchy in order to form a self-sufficient Capitalist society that could better accommodate the needs of a growing America.

Originally, the colonies represented an economic venture for the English public. Those first colonists unknowingly planted the seeds that would grow into a capitalist society. This root of capitalism was a major break from the traditional patriarchy that had dominated Europe for centuries. At the time of the development of the American colonies the feudal system in England consisted of an intricate hierarchical structure that hampered social mobility.

This system paralleled the structure of the Catholic church, which placed the pope at the top and the laypeople at the lowest rung. Like Catholicism, one ruler reigned over the English government. The Protestant Reformation catalyzed the breakdown of the Catholic hierarchy along with the fall of the feudal ideology. In turn, the Reformation produced the eager and diligent Puritans, who would continue to practice their beliefs on American soil. The Puritans would bring their Protestant work ethic with them to the New World. There, they fully rejected the feudal system while supporting diligence, self-discipline, honesty, and a contempt for inactivity. Their new society was bent on opposing servants and slaves. These values and traits that the Puritans advocated resulted in the recipe for the future Capitalist society.

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