Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, And Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, And Power In Colonial Virginia

by Kathleen M. Brown

University of North Carolina Press | November 1, 1996 | Trade Paperback

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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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 9.3 × 6.2 × 1.27 in

Published: November 1, 1996

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0807846236

ISBN - 13: 9780807846230

Found in: History

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– More About This Product –

Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, And Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, And Power In Colonial Virginia

by Kathleen M. Brown

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 9.3 × 6.2 × 1.27 in

Published: November 1, 1996

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0807846236

ISBN - 13: 9780807846230

About the Book

Based on the perspective of gender, this compelling study examines the origins of racism and slavery in colonial Virginia from 1676 to the eighteenth century. According to Brown, gender is both a basic social relationship and a model for social hierarchies and it therefore helped determine the construction of racial categories and the institution of slavery legally, politically, as well as socially.

Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgmentsIllustrations and TablesAbbreviations and Notes on the TextIntroductionPart I: Gender FrontiersChapter 1. Gender and English Identity on the Eve of Colonial SettlementChapter 2. The Anglo-Indian Gender FrontierChapter 3. Good Wives and Nasty Wenches: Gender and Social Order in a Colonial SettlementPart II: Engendering Racial DifferenceChapter 4. Engendering Racial Difference, 1640-1670Chapter 5. Vile Rogues and Honorable Men: Nathaniel Bacon and the Dilemma of Colonial MasculinityChapter 6. From Foul Crimes to Spurious Issue: Sexual Regulation and the Social Construction of RaceChapter 7. Born of a Free Woman: Gender and the Politics of FreedomPart III: Class and Power in the Eighteenth CenturyChapter 8. Marriage, Class Formation, and the Performance of Male GentilityChapter 9. Tea Table Discourses and Slanderous Tongues: The Domestic Choreography of Female IdentitiesChapter 10. Anxious PatriarchsAfterwordNotesIndexMaps1. Colonial Virginia in the Middle of the Seventeenth Century2. The Powhatans and Their Neighbors in 1607Figures1. Pocahontas2. Indian Woman3. Captain John Smith4. Powhatan Addressing His People5. Bastardy Cases Attributed to White Servant Women by Decade, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties6. Inventory of Edward Nicken Signed by Mary Nicken7. Westover Floor Plan, circa 17268. Lucy Parke Byrd9. Virginian LuxuriesTables1. Successful Tax-Exemption Petitions, Norfolk, Lancaster, and York Counties2. Slander Cases, Norfolk, Lancaster, and Y
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From the Publisher

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.

From the Jacket

Based on the perspective of gender, this compelling study examines the origins of racism and slavery in colonial Virginia from 1676 to the eighteenth century. According to Brown, gender is both a basic social relationship and a model for social hierarchies and it therefore helped determine the construction of racial categories and the institution of slavery legally, politically, as well as socially.

About the Author

Kathleen M. Brown is assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.

From Our Editors

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.

Editorial Reviews

"Meticulously researched, carefully reasoned, and gracefully written, this book should be on the reading list of every historian.

"American Historical Review""