- To have the students use the media center to research the following women of colonial times.
- To have the students use the Big 6 ( a research strategy ) to obtain information.
- To have the students learn about colonial times in American history through literature.
Colonial Women of Interest
Anne Dudley Bradstreet (1612-1672): A poet who portrayed a Puritan view of life.
Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643): American religious leader whose religious beliefs were not shared by the Puritans. She started weekly meetings for women to discuss sermons they heard.
Pocahontas (1596-1616): A legendary Indian heroine at the English colony on Jamestown, Virginia.
Have the students create a time line depicting when these women appeared in colonial times in relationship to each other.
Have the students write a brief biographical sketch
on each of the women listed below.
Historical Novels on Colonial Times
Sarah Anne Hartford- Massachusetts,1651
. American Diaries. This is the story of a young girl who breaks the Sabbath in Puritan New England.
Changes for Felicity
. American Girls Collection. As tensions increase between the Patriots and the loyalists, Felicity is faced with changes in her friendships and family.
Related Questions and Evaluation of Novels
How do the stories depict the time period of colonialism?
What kind of life did they have?
How does it compare to the life girls live today?
How would you compare the two characters?
State excerpts from the book to describe how they set the time period.
Where in America did the stories take place?
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Have the students answer the above questions and discuss the novels.
Describe the differences and similarities that Felicity or Sarah would feel if they were living in America today. What do you think they would miss the most and what do you think they would enjoy the most living in America today?
Additional Suggested Reading
The Cabin Faced West
. The story of a young girl who is unhappy after her family moves to the western Pennsylvania territory, until General George Washington comes to visit.
Bulla, Clyde Robert.
A Lion to Guard Us
. The story of three children who sail to America from England, to be reunited with their father who is in Jamestown, Virginia.
The Courage of Sarah Noble
. The story of a young girl and her father, together they explore the Connecticut wilderness in 1707.
Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth
. The journal of a young girl who travels from London to colonial America. The story describes the hardships and pleasure found in colonial life.
New Haven Colony Historical Society
14 Whitney Avenue
New Haven,Connecticut 06510
The New Haven Colony Historical Society offers an educational program to students.
Everyday Life in Early New England
(Grades K-4) is a hands-on program that uses reproductions of common household goods from the 17th and 18th century to provide students with a sense of what life was like in New Haven during colonial times.
The Home and Textile Industry
(Grades 2-Adult) is a program that shows students how to clean, card and spin wool.Women and the American Revolution
By 1760 the letters and diaries that women kept showed what was the beginning of a deep interest in politics. Many women felt it difficult to keep their feelings about the revolution silent. As the conflict with Britain increased, all of the colonists—men, women, and children—became involved.
Women replaced British goods with those made in America. Boycotts of consumer goods were the political exercise of women. Men actually asked their wives for their assistance with boycotts. For the first time women were being included in some political activity, though still on the outside.
City women organized mass spinning bees. In 1769 the Boston Evening Post carried an account of these Spinning Bees on its front page, rather than on the usual back pages. The articles spoke in praise of the women’s significant endeavors on behalf of the war effort. The spinning bees were attended by women and they often called themselves Daughters of Liberty. The bees would usually take place at the home of a local minister. They would begin early in the morning, often spending the entire day at their wheels. They were engaged in conversation and drank locally -made herb tea. At night they would give the minister all that they produced. Many times the entire community became involved as spectators who provided them with entertainment and American food. Some bees were even held as competitions for their quality and quantity. The spinning bees were intended to show that American women as well as men, could make a much needed contribution to the struggle against Britain.
By 1783 the war created a generation of women who called themselves “great politicians”. Women now read about the progress of the war and wanted just as much as men to be informed of any developments both in America and in Britain.
The political allegiances taking place in the colonies caused many differences in peoples’ political views. Friendships and even marriages felt the strain that political views placed on them. These conflicts caused women to take an even more active role in the revolution. Some female activists were known as camp followers as they followed their husbands to war. The work was extremely dangerous and these women became an essential auxiliary to the American army. General Washington’s army lacked a support staff so the troops became dependent on the women. They worked as cooks and laundresses. They were a comfort for the men and improved their morale. The women also worked as nurses, (only men were surgeons) doing menial labor. Many women became camp followers because they were unable to support themselves while their husbands were away. Nonetheless, they had a choice.
The Great Awakening, a religious revival movement that started in England and came to America in the 1730’s, redefined women’s roles and created the idea of republican motherhood. It would be the patriotic duty of women to raise their sons to be virtuous and law abiding citizens . This new responsibility gave women a civic purpose. The Revolution initiated many theories dealing with legitimate government, but women were still excluded from political participation in many of them.
Republican motherhood questioned the lack of women’s education and stimulated the founding of the first academies for women. These schools which were usually run by women offered a curriculum equal to men’s. Schools offered women the chance to view themselves as a distant gender group. By the 1800’s women had begun to organize religious and national groups.