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History of Motherhood: 1500 to 1750

  • By: B. Scott Crawford
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Between 1500 and 1750, mothers continued to perform duties that were typically tied to the domestic sphere in the household. While possibly varying only in degree of domestic responsibilities, the period witnessed mothers throughout the world caring for children and being tied to responsibilities related to the home, whether in an early modern urban setting in Europe or an eastern Woodland village in North America. Whether the society was matrilineal or patriarchal, mothers were defined by their relationships to their children and the home. Motherhood during the period also became, in many regions, a reflection of larger political structures and dynamics. This was especially noteworthy in western Europe and the American colonies as home and state, and motherhood and national politics, were intricately linked.

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