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Life In Colonial America Essay

2428 words - 10 pages

During colonial times life would not have been anything like it is today. They would not have a cell phone, computer or a global positioning system. The family would wake up to begin their day with chores depending on their sex, location, age and, the families’ social class.
Families were large for various reasons - help on the farm, most children died before the age of five. Childbirth was extremely dangerous for women of the day.
Doctors did not deliver infants. That job belonged to midwives. Today women would have an epidural for pain. Back then woman would bite a stick or follow the old wives’ tales such as placing a knife under the bed to cut the pain. After the birth, depending on the family’s wealth, they would feast to help the mother regain her strength. The mother would rest for three to four weeks before returning to her duties as a wife and mother. Someone from a lower social standing would only rest two or three days at most before returning to her daily work.
The infant would be dressed in swaddling gowns then later in dresses. Infants and toddlers would wear dresses and long gowns until the age of five regardless of their sex.
At the age of five, girls would begin learning how to cook and sew among other household chores. Boys would also begin chores, following their father and other men’s example around the farm. If they came from a wealthy family, then a tutor would teach the child. Females who were highly educated had a difficult time finding a husband. However, a child from a middle class family could attend a church school or have an older brother or sister teach them very basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. As a teenager, a female would attend social events to begin to seek a husband. Boys would begin working the farm full time or begin an apprenticeship. (Child Life in Colonial Days.)
The men of the family either worked a trade cooper, blacksmith, and wheelwright or worked a farm. The military was an option however it was only really favored during times of war. Ladies would be married before twenty. If they were older they would be considered an old maid. They would spend the rest of their lives working hard to raise a family, cook, and maintain the household. Their duties would include sewing, spinning, weaving, cooking, making candles, tending beehives, and making soap. In the colonies, a wedding was not considered a religious ceremony. Instead they were thought of as a civil contract that set the responsibilities and duties of husband and wife. Families of importance, a marriage was viewed as a business transaction, love was not part of the arrangement. A wife was considered as a form of property. When a woman married, she lost property she might have owned, any debts she might have, and any money she might make now belonged to her husband.
A man would approach his father before turning any form of attention to a girl. If the young man's father approved of the...

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