Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

2009

Type (DCMI Terms)

Text

Abstract

During the late seventeenth & early eighteenth century in Colonial & English America, the roles men expected of women followed a strict guideline. Those guidelines kept women in certain boundaries. Women had no defined legal identity as an individual. Women grew to resent being repressed socially and legally with the constant law changes restricting the liberties permitted to their gender. Their only outlet was gossip, allowing them to have a degree of control over their own lives and the lives of others. The fine nuances found within idealistic womanhood could contribute to the tensions generating suspicions among the female gender. Freedoms of speech permitted to women could be considered a catalyst of the Salem Witch trials in 1692. The results of the Salem trials proved the greatest preventive of any future outbreaks in the court system. After Salem, the law realized the errors made during Salem, and pardoned the victims of the afflicted girls’ cruelty. Evidence from various trials and writings of the time period during the late seventeenth century show a gender bias, due to the records being kept by men, and the legal proceedings being led by men. The authorities, judges, and jury were made up of males. It could be considered that that were very few writings which display the experiences of Colonial-era women.

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