This paper provides a description of early American views regarding the legal and political rights of women, the growing discontented awareness of such women as to their legal status.
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This paper examines the history of women’s rights in Colonial America, and primarily, among Puritan women. The author discusses the inequality between the sexes, and the almost legal nonexistence and subordination females were subjected to. The paper looks at the different social classes, the differences between married women and single women’s rights, especially property rights, under the law, and how females, in general, were expected to behave in a deeply religious society.
“It has been argued that colonial women could not attain liberty because they were isolated from one another. They were not isolated in the physical sense, rather in the sense that they each had different needs and desires when it came to political rights. As they came from different walks of life, diversified social classes and different educational backgrounds, women may have found it difficult to come together on a common ground in order to speak out for their basic constitutional rights as citizens of the new republic. Whatever the true reasons may have been, it is apparent that with the changing social and economic conditions in colonial America came the change in the colonial woman’s role. Gradually, as she became aware of her ability to act as an independent entity, own property or conduct businesses, whether she was a feme sole or covert, the colonial woman found herself understanding the need for education, and searching for a political as well as legal identity.”