READING ASSIGNMENT 1
Before the revolution in America it was a time when women did not have a part in making any kind of political decisions, did not have more than a really basic education, and were usually economically dependent on men. They bore and nurtured children, performed the household tasks determined by their husbands, and were helping the males in their lives. Running a household was therefore what most of the women could expect to do as their career. The household tasks were mostlyt just cleaning and cooking. In First Generations written by Carol Berkin, the two women that fit the traditional role of women in colonial America were Mary Cole and Mary Johnson. They both were traditional women. Mary Cole was an orphan who then became at an early age a housewife with spiritual training and all the different attributes of a traditional household woman. Then we have Mary Johnson that was also one of the women that describes how traditional the role of women was in a colonial America. Johnson was an African brought to the Chesapeake. She then got married to another African and as Cole she had to do the traditional work of household. But it was slightly different than Cole cause she was a slave and had to do so to gain her freedom and establish her plantation.
But at some point these women were able to step out of the traditional role of women in colonial America and made some changes and deeds that they would have though impossible before. It gave a new vision of what women are capable of doing and what different role they can have in the society. Thus we see how the mentality has changed and two of the women who challenged the traditional role of women in colonial America were Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Margaret Handerbroeck. Pinckney, was a member of South Carolina's aristocracy, who successfully ran her father's plantation in his absence when she was only 15 years old. By using the example of Eliza, Berkin wanted to show how the importance of education allowed Pinckney the opportunity "to master both male and female roles within her culture" (p. 130). Pinckney performed traditional domestic responsibilities as daughter, wife, and mother, but also was able to be a business woman as the administrator of her father's and late husband's plantations. According to Berkin, Pinckney had "a consciousness of self and a confidence in reason" given from her social class's emphasis on individual rights and opportunities in the eighteenth century (p. 134). Pinckney by herself had gained her confidence from a privileged education and from her catholic reading habits. Berkin then argued that by Eliza Lucas Pinckney's generation "social class shattered the unity of gender in colonial American society" (p. 164). Then we have Margaret Hardenbroeck that demonstrate the impact of culture on colonial women . She had quickly become engaged in