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Lecture 6

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Rebecca Beausaert

HIST 2Q93 Lecture: Religion, Morality, and Republican Motherhood Outline: 1) Early Female Religious Figures: Anne Bradstreet and Anne Hutchinson 2) Quaker Women 3) The first Great Awakening, 1730s-1743 a. Profile: Diary of Hannah Heaton 4) Morality and Divorce 5) Introduction – “Republican Motherhood” Why is Religion important to women’s history? - Religion provided an outlet for female talent - Gave women a voice - Gave traits to women which they could use for influence - Early-mid 18 Cth - women are still being denied access to politics, commerce, economics - they are finding a niche for themselves in the church - a way to get public life - a way for women to influence children, other women, and men - another reason to study religion: as more women become involved in the church and church work, it is creating strong emotional ties and bonds between women - helps create bonds between women, family members, comfort to be around other women, allies among one another - fosters socialization relationships among women - in the earliest colonial New England and Southern US communities, women had little role in religious communities – they had very little to do there besides attend - outside of church all women could do was be examples of perfection – showing goodness and following the Bible - in this early colonial period, we see changes happening in religion Anne Bradstreet - born 1612 died in 1672 - first poet and the first female writer in the British North American continent to have a literary piece published - born in England, grew up in cultured circumstances - well educated for the period, unlike most women; studied history, languages, literature - at 16 she married Simon Bradstreet and they emigrated to the American colonies in 1630 and settled in Boston, then Cambridge - like most female migrants, when she stepped on the soil of new world, she was overwhelmed by the sickness, lack of food, primitive living conditions - she stays and refuses to return to England like most families - she tries to make the best of her new life - raised 8 children and took care of home, but became an avid writer - writes about her domestic tasks, but also a lot about religion - she lives in a time when traditional women roles were still at play; women were not to be educated like she was, but she valued her intellect - she was considered a free thinker and an early American feminist - she was bothered by the cultural bias towards women at the time – that their place was only in the home attending to family and husband’s needs - women were considered the intellectual inferiors to men - her poems were greatly criticized for being stolen from ideas of men – because of its content and because she was a woman - women shouldn’t be writing, they should be taking care of their families - she had to stress that she was a virtuous traditional woman because she was facing much criticism and wasn’t being taking seriously - she wrote love poems about her husband Simon which made her stand out - in the puritan society she was living in, you weren’t supposed to show outward expression of feelings and love - she was showing that love was not always about an economic arrangement - she was different in that she did not repress her love towards her husband - women were told to not express love and sexuality because it was seen as disruptive to their connection to God - she gave insight from a woman’s perspective on puritan views of salvation and redemption - she felt pressure to be godly - she writes about how god had punished her in her sicknesses and other sufferings - she is acting out against puritan values, but she cannot escape them - she is trying to seek redemption and salvation - we see a conflict between that emerging modern free thinking woman, and the woman that is stuck in a traditional puritan society that tells her to stay at home and if she acts out god will punish her Anne Hutchinson - born 1591 in England, died in 1643 - similar to Anne Bradstreet - daughter of Anglican minister and school teacher - received far better education that most girls had received - they both received about normal education and go on to change society – shows power of education - married William Hutchinson and were followers of the preacher John Cotton - when Cotton emigrated to the American colonies in 1633, the Hutchinsons followed a year later - they settled in Boston where Anne was a practicing midwife and helped in childbirth - she was forthcoming with her personal religious understandings - she often invited women from the community into her home and provided commentary on services that were recently provided - women in puritan society were expected to come to church, listen, and go home without discussing the material - men were starting to come to her religious meetings which was unique - she was espousing the covenant of grace – she was saying that she sees eternal life for anyone that follows God’s teachings - she is speaking out against the dominant view called the covenant of works – which says men were dominant in society - she is saying it’s not about gender, it’s about what within a person - this disagreement between those supporting Hutchinson and those supporting the male puritan leaders, results in the antinomian controversy (read about in article from a few weeks ago) - in 1637 she goes on trial for her religious views - she was convicted and banished from the colony for her religious views - Anne was a disgrace in the colony because she went against tradition and because she gained so many followers and was excommunicated from the church in 1638 - In 1643 her and her family are killed by aboriginal people - She is important for the way she challenges authority in the colonial period - They feared her because she was exposing subordination of women - We can see the fear instilled in women that forced them to believe the Bible that males dominated - We see in her how colonial women were persecuted when they stepped beyond their gender roles - We see how troubling it was for a women to dare to speak her mind publicly - Men were unaccustomed to outspoken women in this society - She is instilling fear in these male puritan leaders and had an ability to draw followers Quaker Women - One of the changes we see is the establishment of the Quakers - They were radical - Established in New England - Split old religion and formed their own religious - They were called the religion of friends and refered to eachother as “Friend” - They were seen as trembling (quaking) in front of the lord because they were so agitated - They believed you had the ability to be reborn if you had sinned - They believed in the divine light - Lay ministries – run by Quaker followers so that small groups could have their own ministries - The divine light was a continuing revelation – relooking at the old standards of gender roles - They looked at Eve being the reason women are inferior and said it was false - They reinterpreted meaning coming from the Bible and said they were wrong - Quakers saw Adam and Eve and thus men and women as equal - They said that if women found their inner light, the restrictions that the Bible imposed on their gender did not apply - They began arriving in the American colonies in the mid 1600s from England - Initially they faced persecution from religious sets like the puritans for not following their principles – i.e. execution - They became established and were no longer being punished in the mid..... - Quakers did not push women into marriage - They did not judge women who lived outside of social norms or social patterns i.e. women living together was not seen as abnormal - They allowed women to become profits and ministers - They believed that the qualifications to become a minister lay inside the person and was not determined by sex - They supported antinomians like Anne Hutchinson – against that gender hierarchies are determined by the Bible - Quaker women were actively engaging in church governance; making important decisions about local churches - The churches did not have single ministers, they had small ministries (meetings) - Quaker meetings were run by both men and women - Women could develop the rules that the group could abide by, they kept records and managed finances - It was like a leisure activity, something to look forward to, and could meet up with their friends and families - They felt active and not secluded in these meetings - They were exercising authority and later turns into a form of political power - They were urged to dress plainly and avoided obvious fashion trends i.e. skirt hoops, layers and petticoats, high hair styles and head dresses - They believed that more ornate fancy clothing was a mark of idleness – what rich women wore who didn’t do anything in society - They wanted to be distinguished as hardworking people who didn’t need fancy dress – don’t need excess – simple and plain lives - Quaker women always wore a green aprons - They saw equa
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