HUM 112 The Humanities: Culture, Continuity and Change
Professor: Christopher Sisson
December 2, 2012
WOMEN’S ROLES THEN & NOW 2
Women’s Roles Then & Now
Abigail Adams and Catherine the Great met in Europe so they decided to get together for a cup of tea and get acquainted.
Abigail said she was born November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts to the Reverend William and Elizabeth Quincy Smith. She stated that she married John Adams on October 25, 1764 and they moved to Braintree, Massachusetts where she gave birth to six children. She cared for her children at the Braintree home while her husband was an accomplished lawyer. She was left largely alone for ten years during the American Revolution to run the household. Women running a family home were also running a family business. The family homes were centers of production; households often had to produce their own food, clothing, and many of their own supplies. Women were often in charge of coordinating and producing these materials and, thus, were an essential part of keeping the family alive and well.
Catherine the Great said that she was born May 2, 1729 in Stettin, Prussia to Christian Augustus and his wife, Johanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. She said her baptismal name was Sophia Augusta Frederica. In accordance with the custom then prevailing in German princely families, she was educated chiefly by French governesses and tutors. In 1744 she was taken to Russia, to become the fiancé to the grand duke Peter, the nephew of the empress Elizabeth, and her recognized heir. They married on August 21, 1745 at St. Petersburg. Unlike Abigail, Catherine did not have to do the day to day chores of raising a family and running a home. She had servants to do that job. WOMEN’S ROLES THEN & NOW 3
The historical status for women in general during the 18th century in America changed from the...