Quaker Women In The American Colonies

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"Quaker Women in the American Colonies" During the colonial period, women were considered inferior to men and “nothing more than servants for their husbands.” During the eighteenth century, unmarried Quaker women were the first to vote, stand up in court, and evangelize; although Quaker women enjoyed rights that women today take for granted, they were most known for their religious radicalism. According to Rufus Jones, a professor at Harvard, the Quakers “felt, as their own testimony plainly shows, that they were not solitary adventurers, but that God was pushing them out to be the bearers of a new and mighty word of Life which was to remake the world, and that the whole group behind them was in some sense embodied in them.” Women …show more content…
When Mary Dyer returned to New England, it was not a good time for Quakers; a new governor, John Endicott, had been placed in office and he was far stricter regarding Quakers. Endicott’s response to the influx of Quakers, and their familiarity with the law, was to have the Massachusetts General Court pass a series of laws “against ‘the cursed sect of heretics…commonly called Quakers’ which permitted banishing, whipping, and using corporal punishment (cutting off ears, boring holes in tongues).” This meant that any ship that knowingly brought Quakers into port were to be fined a hefty fee and ship the Quakers back to where they came from or have them go to prison. Mary Dyer and her friend came into port and were immediately arrested; they were kept for months until Mary Dyer’s husband was able to have them freed. Mary Dyer was freed on one condition, “under no condition should Mary ever return to Massachusetts.” Mary Dyer returned to Rhode Island and continued to preach; she spoke of the “inner light,” preached that sex had no bearing on preaching the word, and men and women were equal in the Church and at home; she was also banished from New Haven for preaching. When Mary Dyer heard of her friends being thrown in prison after returning to Massachusetts, she felt compelled to return and intercede on their behalf and only ended up in jail again. She wrote her husband a letter as to why she went back to Massachusetts, “if you