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Women, children, and education in colonial America.

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Presentation on theme: "Women, children, and education in colonial America."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women, children, and education in colonial America

2 The first woman becomes a licensed physician The first woman is elected to Congress Women gain the right to vote The first woman makes a transcontinental flight across the Atlantic The first woman becomes a Supreme Court Judge

3 Why are these dates important? From , how did the lives of women change? Given this trend, what opportunities do you think women had three hundred years ago in English colonies?

4 Students will examine the role of women, children, and education in colonial America in order to

5 Women A universal opinion of the time held women in a position of social submission. Marriage was a means of transferring property, not a vehicle for romance. Unmarried women in the colonies were almost unheard of. Families were patriarchal, with the father issuing stern discipline to his children.

6 "In seventeenth-century New England, women of ordinary status were called Goodwife, usually shortened to Goody..." Women were taught to read so that they could read the Bible but few learned to write it was thought that there was no reason for a woman to know how to write. Poor diet, constant child bearing and illnesses took their toll on women as well as long days of hard work. A women would be expected to spin, sew, preserve food, cook and clean while caring for her children and perhaps raising chickens and geese.

7 Children In early America, childhood was a serious time of life, preparation for the adult world, and most toys, books and games were designed to acquaint children with household tasks or teach them moral lessons. Children did many household chores in those days, such as carrying wood, husking corn, gathering berries, leading oxen, carding wool, gathering eggs, and churning butter. When children were not doing chores, their parents sent them to school.

8 “The boy was taught that laziness was the worst form of original sin. Hence, he must rise early and make himself useful before he went to school, must be diligent there in study, and come promptly home to do “chores” at evening. His whole time out of school must be filled up with some service, such as bringing in fuel for the day… feeding the swine, watering the horses, picking the berries, gathering the vegetables, spooling the yarn. He was expected never to be reluctant and not often tired.” An Explanation of Life at Fort Frederica, Georgia

9 Education Boys learned how to farm, raise cattle and handle a gun for hunting. Girls learned such household tasks as sewing, spinning, weaving, food preparation and food preservation.

10 “The education of a girl in book learning was deemed of much less importance than her instruction in household duties. Small arrangement, if any was made in school for her presence. For the wealthy girl, whether she was taught at home or in a private school, to sew, write, and dance were her chief accomplishments.” An Explanation of Life at Fort Frederica, Georgia

11 Education The colonists established some public schools but most children of poor families were taught by their parents at home. Because many parents could not read or write they were unable to teach those skills. So their children were taught obedience, religious beliefs and the skills they needed in daily life.

12 “It is therefore ordered, that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord has increased its number to 50 householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general.” Massachusetts Bay Colony Law, 1642 video

13 College Do you know anyone in college? What do you imagine college to be like?

14 College in Colonial Times The Puritans were determined to create colleges in America so that their sons did not have to travel back to England to receive an education. They valued higher education due to the need for educated ministers in the colonies. The first college in America, Harvard, was established in Soon there were nine colleges in colonial America.

15 Very Dear Father, The rules of conduct for students here are, in my opinion, very well suited to restrain wicked students, to assist studious students, and to encourage virtuous ones. Every student must rise in the morning by 5:30 AM at the latest, after which everyone has half hour to dress. Then the bell rings and prayers begin. There are record keepers in each class. They take down the names of those who are absent from the morning or evening prayers. Once every week they present their record to the president, who calls in those named and demands to hear their excuse. If their excuses are not acceptable, they are fined or privately rebuked [scolded]. After morning prayers, we can study for an hour. We eat breakfast at 8 o’clock. From 8 to 9 o’clock, we have free time to play games or to exercise. At 9 AM the bell rings for classroom instruction. After classes end, we study until 1 o’clock, when the bell rings for lunch. After lunch we are at liberty to do as we please until 3 PM. From 3 until 5 PM we study until the bell rings for evening prayers. We eat at 7 PM. At 9 o’clock the bell rings for study. A tutor goes through the college to see that every student is in his own room. After 9 PM anyone may go to bed; however, if you go before that hour, it is considered to be a sign of laziness. No student is allowed to be absent on Sunday from public worship for any reason except sickness… From your dutiful son

16 How might the fact that Phillip was writing to his father have influenced the way he wrote? How might this letter have been different if he were writing to a friend? What did Phillip believe about the rules for conduct at the college? How do these rules reflect the purpose for establishing colleges in America? How does Phillip’s school experience compare to what you imagine college to be like today?


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