Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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What was it like to be a woman in colonial America?

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Life for women in colonial America was very different than it is today. To summarize, life was very simple and limited for the colonial woman. First, they had very little legal rights at that time. They were not able to run for office or even allowed to vote. Their legal rights were essentially equal to whatever their husband had. In some ways, however, it was more beneficial for the woman to be unmarried because her rights were not then conjoined with the man's.

Economically, they were also disadvantaged as they were generally not employed. Their primary role was to serve as the homemaker. They were expected to keep the house in order, cook food and to serve the husband and family; this carried on well into the twentieth century as well.

They were also uneducated. Women were not expected to, or even allowed to, learn how to read. Once again, their primary purpose was to serve. Education was seen as an area for men to advance themselves. The woman was behind the scenes keeping the house.

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