Education in the Lives of Colonial Women

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Education in the Lives of Colonial Women
American Women SS360-01
Richard Elder
Charlette Thompson

Pre- revolutionary colonial women were provided few educational opportunities. They participated in little to no communication in places that were outside of their families, households, and local communities. The women were taught to cook, plan meals, prepare meals, housework, and make clothing, most domestic tasks inside and outside, and mainly how to be a “good wife.” They were not allowed to attend school or take up any type trades. If they attended school it would be “Dame school,” which only taught them ABC’s and basic reading and writing skills; taught by women who possessed very little educational skills themselves. If women were taught to read it was only for the purpose of interpreting the bible. According to the National Women’s History Museum (2006), “It is evident that women were only educated enough during the colonial times so they possessed the well-known skills to fulfill their duties as successful housewives, not as contributing workers to the “great” American economy” (p. 1, para. 3). But during the revolution, in the absence of their husbands in time of war, the colonial women were forced to accept responsibilities for their families and households. What should have brought a deeper darkening to the colonial woman, instead enlightened many male colonists, and confirmed the cries of so-called ‘rebellious women’ that women needed broader educations to prepare them for disasters unaware as this revolutionary war. When the revolutionary war hit between the British and America it cause drastic changes for not just the colonial women but for all who were involved. The revolutionary war demanded the snatching away of the men and the oldest sons of the families. This left the majority of households with unskilled, “uneducated” and incapable women to mind the households, work the farms, find work to somehow create an income,...
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