All We Know About Colonial Family Values And History
Colonial Family values differ greatly from what we see and experience today. Families were patriarchal and women had much fewer rights.
Families often differed at that time based on their classes and their origins and history. For example, an immigrant English settler family had the mentality of the ruling, while a native family of the colony was enslaved to work on farms and produce agricultural goods.
Similarly, a wealthy family structure often had the father sitting on the throne overseeing the business and economics while the mother headed the household works and handled the servants. A family from deprived background had to break their sweat to win bread.
The roles of women also varied based on their socioeconomic class. Aristocratic women would spend their days reading and tending to their husbands, while women from deprived families had to perform daily household chores on top of working on the farm and caring for their children.
Despite some vast differences between the Colonial families and families today, there are numerous similarities. Wealthier people living in a nuclear family and deprived families joining forces to survive are a few.
What Is A Colonial Family?
Colonial Family meaning in simple words derives families from the era of colonization. They are either the colonizers or the colonizee.
The colonizers are those families who move to a new location to claim the land for their mother country and rule the new land under their native flag back home. Those who travel to the newly claimed land to establish settlements are also known as colonizer families.
In short, the non-native family who comes to establish their empire or rule are colonizer families. For example, the British settlers and their family who traveled to the United States of America to establish their rule are known as the colonizer family.
In contrast, the family who had been living in the native land before the arrival of the immigrants are known as colonizee families. They are the ones who would get exploited by the immigrants and later enslaved, as seen in the case of most British colonies.
However, it is very important to point out the difference between immigrant and colonizer families. An Immigrant is those who come to a new country and settle down accepting and abiding by its rules and regulation while colonizers' families are those who settle in a new nation or country and impose their rules and regulations on the natives.
In this article, we will be discussing both newcomers and native families under the same arch.
Colonial Family History And Origins
Colonial Family history date back to the 1490s when Columbus first landed in present-day USA.
As the European settlers started forming colonies and communities, the families in the present-day USA were divided into two categories even before they knew.
Everything for native Americans changed when the pilgrims aboard Mayflower landed on American soil. They gave birth to the legendary tales of Thanksgiving, often considered to have a dark side behind the story.
The Europeans found colonies made up of families were more stable, and they encouraged settlers to migrate to the new lands together with their families, according to Encyclopedia.
The first of them, was not very far from today's families, as we know them. Mostly headed by the father of the family. it consisted of a father, a mother, and their children. The term nuclear is used to describe such units.
The aristocratic family had servants to take care of the household chores. Mothers in the family oversaw the day-to-day operation of the household while fathers worked on the business. The children were taught and tutored by their mothers and tutors.
However, the family, in both cases, was a functional unit of society. According to Digital History, the unit performed basic societal duties including educational, religious, and societal functions. The roles now have been taken by private and government institutions.
The native Americans went through dramatic changes in their family structures after the European settlers arrived. The natives lived in big clans and tribes but the deaths from foreign diseases and battles reduced the number of men in the clan forcing them to restructure their families.
Initially, the European and native Americans had different concepts of family. The former believed in a nuclear functional family, and the latter believed in large groups with unified clans to enhance their production and safety from invasions.
Colonial Family Values
Colonial Family values are not different from that of today. The tradition focused on teaching morals, discipline, and ethics to young ones.
However, that being said, there is also a vast difference between the families then and now.
The families then were made up of functional units and patriarchal in general. The female members had close to no rights in family matters at most times.
Socio-economic factors also impacted family values, then between different families, and now with the modern ones. The high-class wealthy families had different ways of functioning than the working class.
The Wealthy Ones
The aristocratic European family had, in most cases, a healthy and clover lifestyle in the sense of physical labor and work.
They had servants and workers to care for the young children and household chores while the mother looked after the operation. Furthermore, the females in the aristocratic family were educated and understood the importance of literacy and education.
These families valued education, mannerism, etiquette, functional skills, and independence the most. The mother was tasked with disciplining the kids with the help of a tutor. Furthermore, the girls and boys in the family had different upbrings to aid them in the future.
Daughters were taught the etiquette of hosting, dancing, and knitting, while the sons were often sent off to boarding schools in England to prepare them to take on the family business upon arrival. They would aid their fathers in running the family estate from their teenage.
The Deprived Ones
The deprived or socio-economically weak valued the joint family and traditions.
The father presided as the head of the family and was charged with leading the religious and disciplinary aspects. He would guide the family as a role model in addition to his duties as the bread-earner.
The mother had to work on the farms during the harvest and plantation seasons, in addition to all the chores around the house. The mothers received help from their older daughters in completing their daily household work.
Similarly, a difference with the aristocratic family, the deprived ones lived in a joint family. According to Love To Know, it was common practice for grandparents, aunts, and uncles to live together in the family.
The elders often had the final say in family matters and were responsible for passing on the tradition and culture to the children. Furthermore, the grandparents had imposed authority on all the family members if the family resided on the grandparent's farm and land.
The laborers used in the plantations by the wealthy class followed matriarchal family values and structure. They opted for the values after their plantation owners would often ship their partners and family members to different plantations to work, breaking their family.
Similarly, the female laborers would be tasked with producing many children to supply a steady stream of the workforce to the plantation. According to Encyclopedia, they would be often driven by promises of freedom for giving birth and raising a certain number of children.
American Colonial Families Life
Colonial Family life was mainly working to win bread for the family. The daily lifestyle included farming and raising cattle.
Life back then was far from our imagination today. Their life mostly revolved around doing chores or producing enough crops and amenities to last the family for a year. According to Warren County School books, a proud farmer wrote that he did not buy anything to eat, wear, or drink in an entire year because his farm provided everything for the family.
Life during colonial America was divided majorly into two types, farm life and bustling city or town life.
Colonial Farm Life
The farmers held the second position in the wealth hierarchy in colonial America. They owned their own lands and had businesses to support and provide for the family. They, however, had to work with all available hands all year round to achieve status and wealth.
The farmers raised cattle, planted their fields, and made clothes and beverages themself for personal use. A limited number had commercial farms to sell off their produce. However, the little commercial farms focused on one thing, mostly tobacco, and were often owned by aristocrats.
Families spending their life on farms often had a small home with single or double rooms for all the members. They cooked and ate their food, rested, and slept in the same room.
They often had large families to help them with the work around the farm. Days for the family members started before sunrise and everyone had at least one responsibility to fulfill daily. Over 90% of the colonial families lived on small farms.
According to the Encyclopedia, A little aristocratic girl named Maria Carter of Stuart Hall plantation wrote a letter to her cousin Maria explaining her daily life. In her letter, she explained her daily schedule of waking up in the morning and studying with her tutor before school, attending school, and only have about an hour between the end of school and her bedtime.
Colonial City Life
As more and more settlers arrived from Europe, cities started to sprawl around the ports.
The merchant ships brought supplies from the motherland and took back the produce of the new land in exchange. To fuel the business, merchants started to set up shops and cities around the port.
The present-day Boston in Massachusetts was among the early cities to spring into action during the early 1700s. These cities were mostly built for functionalities with the aim to facilitate trade between Europe and the present-day United States of America.
As over 20,000 people settled in the city area, tailor shops, blacksmiths, cobblers, and other similar professionals made their shops. People selling the products from England also had their stores near the port area.
Fishermen and farmers traded their respective products and sent off the remaining to England on merchant ships. Churches, schools, and community areas were also features of cities that lacked the quiet farms of the countryside.
The cities also served as the place for governmental bodies to function and make laws and rules for their citizens and colony members. They also feature town halls, which would later become the heart of the city's politics. Mostly, workers and wealthy families populated the city areas.