Ebb Tide in New England: Women, Seaports, and Social Change, 1630-1800
Although the female population was preponderant in Boston, Salem, Newport, and Portsmouth, Elaine Forman Crane finds that women of this period gradually became less autonomous and more dependent on men than they had been in the early years of English settlement.
Challenging the prevailing notion that women's lives improved during the revolutionary era, the author convincingly argues that women's voices grew weaker and their presence dimmer as the market economy and government expanded. Drawing from census lists, church records, merchants' ledgers, newspapers, town records, and family papers, Crane traces the evolution of religious, commercial, and legal institutions to show how women suffered a deterioration in economic standing, a growing public invisibility, and a heightened reliance on male decision making. She frames her narrative within the context of European women's experiences, revealing a parallel decline in status as the patriarchal structures of church, state, and market became more elaborate and interconnected.
Ebb Tide in New England offers a fresh perspective on ordinary women's lives in the colonial and revolutionary periods, and it makes a strong case for viewing the feminization of poverty in contemporary America as a product of these historical origins.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
account book activities Acts affected Ages American appear Archives Assistants authority Baptist became Boston census Church civil collective colonial Congregational Court debt decades dependence early economic eighteenth century England English equality Essex Europe European evidence female Gender given History households husband important increased Indian issue John labor later least less license lives male marriage married Mary Massachusetts matter means meeting names nature Newport Newport Town patriarchal percent petition political poor Portsmouth position Providence Puritan Quaker reason received Records relationship religious responsible Rhode Island role rules Salem Sarah sell seventeenth century sex ratio shillings sisters Society status Suffolk County suggests Thomas tion took town trade turn University Press urban vote widows wife wives woman women York