What Is A Housewife's Role In Colonial America

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The focus of Good Wives by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is on the lives of colonial women from 1650-1750. Ulrich focuses on the daily lives of women and the role of women in their society. In Colonial America, the main role of women was to be a housewife. A housewife’s role was “defined by a space (a house and its surrounding yards), a set of tasks (cooking, washing, sewing, milking, spinning, cleaning, gardening), and a limited area of authority (the internal economy of a family)” (Ulrich 9). They also could stand in for their husband and his roles when necessary. The daily lives and roles of women in Colonial America reflect two main unique qualities of American life including women performing male duties and powerless women doing the essential work to sustain the family. A unique element of American life was that sometimes women would have to serve two roles at once. When a woman’s husband was unable to fulfill his own duties, his wife, in addition to her housewife duties, would take on the role of deputy husband. As a deputy husband, a woman was expected to complete her husband’s duties, For example, the wife of a farmer…show more content…
This reflects a unique aspect of American Life where women were treated as lesser than their male counterparts even though they were very important to society. They played a large part in keeping their society going, but did not get any recognition in the form of power or respect. Women served as housewives, cooking, cleaning, and doing anything else necessary to take care of their husbands, children, and houses. Ulrich discusses how housewives “demonstrated the old proverb, ‘A man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done’ “ (Ulrich 67). Housewives play an essential role in the functioning of their family, but the sons of the family inherit the land instead of the
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