ABC-CLIO

Daily Life in Colonial New England, 2nd Edition

by Claudia Durst Johnson

 

While life in Colonial New England is often imagined to have been dominated by the tiresome concerns of pious clergymen and church goers operating in an extremely homogeneous society, the reality was far more diverse—and interesting.

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Cover image for Daily Life in Colonial New England

April 2017

Greenwood

Pages 370
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Culture
  Religion/History

This book presents a unique perspective on life in Colonial England, exposing many misconceptions and depicting how elements of its culture that are typically regarded as marginal—such as the activities of pirates—actually had an extensive impact of the populace.

The daily lives of most colonial New Englanders were much more colorful and exotic than the drab, pious picture many of us have in mind. Daily Life in Colonial New England exposes as myth much of what we might believe about this era and reveals surprising truths—for example, that sex was openly discussed in Colonial times and was regarded as a welcome necessity of married life, and that women had more legal and marital rights than they did in the 19th century.

The book describes topics such as the legal and sexual rights of women, the extent of infant mortality; the lives of underclass citizens who formed the majority in New England, such as indentured servants, African slaves, debtors, and criminals; and the integral role that pirates played in business and employment during the Colonial period. Readers will gain deeper insight into what life during this period was like through accounts of the real terror of being one of the accused in witch hunts and the sympathy that the general population had for dissidents who were questioned and arrested by the government. Primary materials that range from legal documents to sermons, letters, and diaries are used as sources that verify historical ideas and events.

Features

  • Provides readers with an understanding of the nature of religious sentiment in Colonial America, which was characterized by a desire to have religious freedom for themselves but not for others
  • Depicts the constant rebellion and subsequent cruelty inherent to colonial society
  • Examines the majority underclass populations, such as indentured servants, Native Americans, and African Americans
  • Addresses myths about Puritan women, marriage, sex, and child raising
Author Info

Claudia Durst Johnson is a retired professor who currently works as a writer and editor. She is the author of 10 books, including The Productive Tension of Hawthorne's Art; American Actress: Perspective on the Nineteenth Century, which won a Choice Award; and To Kill a Mockingbird: Threatening Boundaries. For a decade, she edited and wrote nine books for Greenwood's Literature in Context series.

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