Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century America

by Merril D. Smith


It was a time of transition as the British colonies in North America gradually, then suddenly, moved toward independence. It was also a time of transition for American women—those whose lives were centered around the domestic responsibilities of home and family, as well as those who were branching out into roles once exclusively male.

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Cover image for Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century America

February 2010


Pages 182
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Gender

This book offers a look at how the lives of women changed in the era when the United States emerged.

Spanning the broad spectrum of Colonial-era life, Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century America is a revealing exploration of how 18-century American women of various races, classes, and religions were affected by conditions of the times—war, slavery, religious awakenings, political change, perceptions about gender—as well as how they influenced the world around them.

Women's Roles in Eighteenth-Century America covers the area of North America that became the United States and follows the transformation of the British colonies into a new nation. The book is organized thematically to examine marriage and the family, the law, work, travel, war, religion, and education and the arts. Each chapter combines current research and primary sources to offer authoritative portraits of real lives of the everyday women during this pivotal early era in our history.


  • Offers a chronology of social, political, and cultural events in 18th-century America that involved or affected women
  • Includes 16 portraits, cartoons, illustrations of women, women's work, and events in 18th-century America


  • Draws on recent research to portray the lives of 18th-century white, African American, and Native American women across the social spectrum
  • Explores not only how perceptions of women changed over the century, but also how women helped to shape and influence the world around them
  • Shows the fluid nature of women's roles during the 18th century and explains how they participated and reacted to such key events as the Great Awakening and the American Revolution
Author Info

Merril D. Smith is an independent scholar living in National Park, NJ. Smith is the author or editor of several books, including Women's Roles in Seventeenth-Century America and the Encyclopedia of Rape.



"Recommended. Undergraduate collections."—Choice

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