Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia

ISBN-10: 0807846236

ISBN-13: 9780807846230

Edition: 1996

Authors: Kathleen M. Brown

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Kathleen Brown examines the origins of racism and slavery in British North America from the perspective of gender. Both a basic social relationship and a model for other social hierarchies, gender helped determine the construction of racial categories and the institution of slavery in Virginia. But the rise of racial slavery also transformed gender relations, including ideals of masculinity. In response to the presence of Indians, the shortage of labor, and the insecurity of social rank, Virginia's colonial government tried to reinforce its authority by regulating the labor and sexuality of English servants and by making legal distinctions between English and African women. This practice, along with making slavery hereditary through the mother, contributed to the cultural shift whereby women of African descent assumed from lower-class English women both the burden of fieldwork and the stigma of moral corruption. Brown's analysis extends through Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, an important juncture in consolidating the colony's white male public culture, and into the eighteenth century. She demonstrates that, despite elite planters' dominance, wives, children, free people of color, and enslaved men and women continued to influence the meaning of race and class in colonial Virginia.
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Book details

List price: $32.50
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/25/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.848
Language: English

ContentsAcknowledgments Illustrations and Tables Abbreviations and Notes on the Text Introduction
Gender Frontiers
Gender and English Identity on the Eve of Colonial Settlement
The Anglo-Indian Gender Frontier
"Good Wives" and "Nasty Wenches": Gender and Social Order in a Colonial Settlement
Engendering Racial Difference
Engendering Racial Difference, 1640-1670
Vile Rogues and Honorable Men: Nathaniel Bacon and the Dilemma of Colonial Masculinity
From "Foul Crimes" to "Spurious Issue": Sexual Regulation and the Social Construction of Race
"Born of a Free Woman": Gender and the Politics of Freedom
Class and Power in the Eighteenth Century
Marriage, Class Formation, and the Performance of Male Gentility
Tea Table Discourses and Slanderous Tongues: The Domestic Choreography of Female Identities
Anxious PatriarchsAfterword Notes IndexMaps
Colonial Virginia in the Middle of the Seventeenth Century
The Powhatans and Their Neighbors in 1607Figures
Indian Woman
Captain John Smith
Powhatan Addressing His People
Bastardy Cases Attributed to White Servant Women by Decade, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
Inventory of Edward Nicken Signed by Mary Nicken
Westover Floor Plan, circa 1726
Lucy Parke Byrd 9.Virginian Luxuries Tables
Successful Tax-Exemption Petitions, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
Slander Cases, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
Reported Runaway Servants and Slaves, 1643-1675, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
Punishments for Bastardy by White Female Servants, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
Interracial Bastardy Offenses by White Servant Women, 1660-1729, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties
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