“Farm Households and Wage Labor in the Northeastern Maritimes in the 19th Century” report

This article is entitled “Farm Households and Wage Labor in the Northeastern Maritimes in the 19th Century” written by Rusty Bitterman. Elementary, this article focuses on wage labor amongst farm households especially in the Maritimes in early 19th century. Primarily, resource-based economies were prevalent in the maritime and they included agricultural and non-agricultural practices.

There was plenty of land and therefore any person would access the land and make a living out of it. “With a wife and axe, an industrious man might carve out a handsome competence and become truly rich and independent” (Bitterman, 1993, p. 14).

However, apart from farm household labors, people got involved in waged labor. Bittterman points out that the main reason why people got involved in waged labor was to institute and maintain their own farms. Farming requires resources to run it.

For instance, for a farmer to start farming, he or she requires farm inputs and seeds on top of labor to get the farming underway. This need to have money to support such events explains why many farmers assumed two roles; that is, being casual laborers or wage earners and at the same time being farmers tilling their own lands.

The article points out that, the fact that most of the people around the maritime had two jobs, class distinction between wage earners and farmers was outstandingly missing. Consequently, there was no clear-cut class identity in those times and neither could the prevailing environment allow establishment of the same.

The ideal of an independent farmer was to cultivate his or her land, raise families, and be independent. Independence, wealth accumulation and raising families was the dream of every farmer in the maritime. Bitterman (1993) says one would become “…truly rich and independent” (p. 14). However, despite the desire to become independent, these farmers had to become wage earners; a move that seemed to take away their most craved independence.

So, how did wage labor fit into the lives of families striving to attain this ideal in the Maritimes? In this article, Rusty Bitterman gives a valid explanation of why farmers engaged in wage labor and how this fitted in their lives to attain the ideal farmer status in the maritime.

During this period of early 19th century, most farmers were illiterate and amateurs in any profession. Therefore, to become independent and rich, these people had to work as wage earners to partly support their farming practices and supplement their earnings from the poorly cultivated lands. The fact that these farmers were not skilled in any filed implies that even the farming they did they did it poorly and consequently the production was low.

On the other hand, in the wage labor, unskilled labor dominated the arena implying that production was poor hence poor payment. Due to lack of education, there were no set employment rules that would counter check any form of exploitation.

Therefore, these conditions starting with poor farming practices which, resulting into poor yields and faced with the need of every farmer to be independent and rich, forced the farmers to take up non-farming activities to earn some income that would maintain their farms and provide for their families as aforementioned. This phenomenon explains how wage labor fitted into the lives of farmers and their families and still maintained their ideal status in the maritime.

However, the writer was not convinced by the author’s argument. There are some critical concerns that the writer raises in this case. For instance, the claim that farmers were independent during that time is not substantial. The article stresses the fact that there was massive paternalism between employees who partly happened to be farmers and employers who were merchants and land rulers.

With this regard, independence of the farmers remains in question because their wage earning part of livelihood lay in the hands of these prominent and rich coteries of the society. To say that the farmers were independent because they cultivated their farms is null.

It is clear that the farmers were not producing enough farm products to sustain them and their families giving them the independence and wealth that they craved. Actually, the article points out clearly that the reason why many farmers engaged in wage labors was to supplement their poor incomes from farming. This implies that these same farmers had to go looking for wage labors from the same individuals who were out to exploit them.

This implies that independence and richness was not anywhere close to these farmers as claimed in the article. The article to some extent insinuates that the only people who did not have independence were the working class. This holds some truth. However, the farmers were part of the working class because they got involved in waged labor at some point. Towards the end of the article Bitterman points out that, more farmers engaged in wage labor as time went on.

According to Bitterman, there were two classes of people; wage laborers and farmers. However, a new class of wage earners cum farmers emerged and this is where independence of farmers got lost. As long as they worked as wage earners, they remained under the mercies of merchants and rich landowners and were subject to exploitation.

Reference List

Bitterman, R. (1993). Farm Households and Wage Labor in the Northeastern Maritimes In the 19th Century. Retrieved 2 Feb. 2010, from,

Music of the Spheres: The Analysis of the Concept and its Application to Modern Days

Introduction

The variety of philosophical concepts is impressive indeed, and the approach that unites philosophy and music usually attracts the attention of many people due to its extraordinary nature. The Music of the Spheres is considered to be one of such concepts, the essence of which lies in the unity of proportions between celestial bodies and planets. This kind of music is not audible but sensing; this is why mathematical, religious, and harmonic concepts need to be taken into consideration.

Pythagoras was one of the first philosophers, who introduced that ethereal type of music and proved the possibility of connection geometry, philosophy, and music. “Impressed by the harmonious scale of sounds from the beating hammers, Pythagoras went into the iron-worker’s shop to discover how this untutored hammering could produce harmoniously related sounds.”[1]

The idea of the Music of the Spheres was developed through many centuries; within a certain period of time, it was discovered that all stars, planets, and even galaxies were able to resonate in accordance with rather appealing mystical symphony and create a celestial harmony, a new type of music, the Music of the Spheres that can be heard by people from time to time.

Historical Background of the Music of the Spheres

Pythagoras and his impact on the Music of the Spheres development. Pythagoras was one of the philosophers whose attempts to discover the connection of number and harmony were successful. He spent much time with hammers and studied thoroughly the ways these hammers produced the sounds.

His first finding was that all hammers produced sounds in certain proportions in accordance with their weights: by means of changing weight, Pythagoras created new sounds. “Pythagoreans’ religious reverence for numbers was overstimulated, and the belief that numbers each posses an encrypted meaning remained strongly associated with the study of musical harmony for nearly two thousand years” (Barrow 238).

It was not very difficult to believe that more extreme forms may produce sounds, considering own weights. Pythagoras was the first one, who offered the idea of moving celestial bodies and their possibility to produce tones with different speed. With time, it was discovered that those musical tones could present definite musical sounds and a harmony that became known as the Music of the Spheres.

The concept of the Music of the Spheres becomes important. Many sophisticate philosophers try to present a clear explanation of why the concept of the Music of the Spheres should be considered seriously and respectfully. William Gray’s words may be used as a powerful ground to start with:

Living under the shade of trees by day and under the stars at night, with a roof over one’s head only when it rains or when asleep, it is natural that one should gaze at the stars, see many splendid meteors, and take much note of the coming and going of the moon, and the rising and setting of the constellations.[2]

People are able to enjoy the nature around with its gifts, mysteries, and views. If people use their skills and awareness to observe, they should be able to use the same abilities to hear everything around. This celestial music is everywhere and nowhere; it is the music of movements between the planets, the members of our solar system. If mathematicians can define numbers, musicians create melodies, and philosophers introduce concepts, it should be possible to unite their actions and present something that touches upon every sphere.

Kepler and the Music of the Spheres. Johannes Kepler also tried to define this concept with the help of his own investigations. He discovered that “the pitch of the note emitted by each planet had to related to the orbital period. Orbits could not be random, then, but had to follow precise numerical principles, the same as those governing the laws of musical harmony” (Balbi 81).

If Pythagoras offered a philosophical approach to comprehend the essence of a new concept of the Music of the Spheres and defined it as a kind of music, the ideas of Kepler were more scientific by nature. He wanted to unite music and numbers and present the necessary order for each movement and sound.

Current State of Affairs that May Help to Comprehend the Idea of the Music of the Spheres

Nowadays, people forget about the significance of philosophical concepts and their unbelievable power. Some people may think that the Music of the Spheres is the idea that is inherent to some crazy person, who has nothing to do but try to listen to the celestial sounds with its harmony and technique. However, if we analyze the essence of the Music of the Spheres deeper, we may clear up that any music is a unity of vibrations, which create certain sounds in a meaningful way.

Music takes place even if a person cannot hear it from the very beginning, this is why it is possible to believe that people may forget about some philosophical concepts and forget about the ideas of Pythagoras. This is why they cannot hear this music, but still, it is not the reason to think about this music impossibility.

Conclusion

In spite of the fact that the Music of the Spheres is one of the oldest philosophical concepts, its necessity is noticeable nowadays. Every person gets a chance to enjoy the gifts of our nature, and this celestial harmony is one of these gifts. Thought it is not literally audible, it should be regarded as religious, mathematical, and of course philosophical concept that makes people look at their lives in a different way and manner.

Works Cited

Balbi, Amedeo. The Music of the Big Bang: The Cosmic Microwave Background and the New Cosmology. New York: Springer, 2008.

Barrow, John, D. The Artful Universe Expanded. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Gray, William, C. Musings by Camp-Fire and Wayside. Chicago: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009.

Barrow, John, D. The Artful Universe Expanded. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, 237
Gray, William, C. Musings by Camp-Fire and Wayside. Chicago: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009, 81.

Analysis of Gypsy Life

Introduction

Who are Gypsies? Hunters, entertainers, potters, horse traders or knife sharpeners? There has been intense stereotyping about Gypsies’ lives over the years. Fortunately, Jan Yoors, an outsider from Belgium lived with these people long enough to confirm or reject the stereotypes.

Born in Belgium, Jan Yoors ran away from his family at the age of twelve and stayed with the Gypsies for six years before returning home at the age of eighteen. His father then allowed him to spend time with the Gypsies once a year thereafter. As a member of a wandering band, Kumpania, which was part of the Gypsies, Jan Yoors stands the best chance to confirm or discard some of the claims that have been made about the Gypsies by many writers.

The Stereotypes

There are many reasons that underlie the low position that the Gypsies occupied in the mainstream society. They did not have concrete religion and most of them led nomadic lifestyles. Moreover, the Gypsies had different body features and stature. All these factors set them apart, making them to stand out in a crowd and this may have contributed to their segregation and stereotyping. One of the stereotypes is that the Gypsies were lonely and gloomy.

According to Bellman, “If the author needs loneliness and gloom, this is what the Gypsies represent” (76). This is not true. According to Yoors, these people were friendly, social, and hospitable. “We all sat merrily together. The suggestive scratching had ceased and there were no Gaje left among us. Not suspecting the ruse, they had fled before the implications of vermin” (Yoors 26).

How would lonely and gloomy people sit together and exchange pleasantries as indicated in the above excerpt? Jan Yoors comes out clearly to point out that these people were friendly contrary to what many writers have tried to imply. It is a common phenomenon that the minority groups in society are in most cases overlooked.

The mainstream society does not take time to study and understand the values and principles of these minority groups. Consequently, a lot of misinformation abides and as new generations come and go, the misconstrued information becomes a fact. This is the case with the Gypsies; however, credit goes to Jan Yoors for relating his own experience with these people.

Another stereotype is that the Gypsies were criminals and immoral. For instance, in his work, Bellman says, “If a threatening criminal class is called for, particularly where theft is concerned, the Gypsies can always serve; if one simply needs a group of wonderers, the Gypsies come immediately to mind. They also do yeoman’s duty, as the personification of sexual infidelity; particularly, in cases where circumstances have led one’s characters into temptation” (76).

In this case, Jan Yoors approves these allegations of immorality and refutes them. For instance, in a move that refutes the claims of sexual immorality, Yoors notes, “The following morning, after the display of the bridal bed linen, the mother-in-law assisted the bride in knotting her kerchief after the fashion of the married women” (75).

Again, Yoors points out that, “Malicious gossip would have it that so and so had taken a pigeon along on her bridal night; for it was necessary that there should be blood for all to see as proof of virginity” (39).

In these two cases, Jan Yoors indicates that there had to be a proof of virginity when a man slept with his wife for the first time. There had to a ‘bridal bed linen’ that had to be stained with blood the following morning to prove that the woman was a virgin. This fact eliminates the possibility of sexual immorality.

In early days, it was a common dream of every young girl to get married. Therefore, it would be expected that every girl would conserve her virginity until marriage not to fail the ‘virginity test’ the morning after marriage. Therefore, sexual immorality was not as ripe amongst the Gypsies as Bellman and others would want to put it.

However, on another occasion Yoors seems to support the issue of sexual immorality among the Gypsies. “There was a slight fullness in the way the ample faded lilac skirt and the low cut yellow blouse were draped around the well rounded but still slender shape of her young body, which I had never noticed before. Somehow, it was the first time I had ever paid any attention to her at all, even though we lived side by

side in the same kumpania. In her colorful if ragged and faded dress she struck me incongruously as a tender Gypsy Madonna, as seen in a dream” (Yoors 65). He also adds, “once in a while I looked in our compartment, finding it hard to resist staring at sweet little Mozol” (66). The woman in this excerpt seems to be seducing Jan Yoors who also confesses that he could not resist the temptation of ogling. Even though this does not indicate direct sexual immorality, these events precede sexual immorality.

Finally, there has been the stereotype that the Gypsies were violent, uncivilized and criminals. Polansky points out that, “the gypsies therefore were regarded as rude, wild, and dangerous strangers” (para. 9). From Jan Yoors book, The Gypsies, these allegations are true. “They were going to enact a scene of abduction.

For, even though the parents had agreed upon the marriage and paid the bridal price and the union had been celebrated with a festive meal, the bride still had to surrender to her new husband. …when we approached the spot, we witnessed a wild fight that nobody could have anticipated. In the half-dark a handful of young men were trying to disentangle three youths fighting in a blind frenzy.

We were told that Tsinoro’s son had half heartedly pretended to abduct the bride, who appeared more willing to go than was proper for a virgin. She had sighed to convey alarm, but those present claimed it was almost a sigh of pleasure. Upon which her younger brother; Fonso, took offence…” (Yoors 69).

These are violent behaviors. Despite the fact that parents had agreed bridal price and settled everything, they had to abduct the bride. A short distance from where Jan Yoors and his friends were standing, a fight had broken out following a foiled abduction. These acts portray primitivism that permeated the Gypsies lifestyles for a long time.

Conclusion

The Gypsy life has long been stereotyped. Some of these stereotypes are true while others are not. Jan Yoors, having spent enough time with these people confirms this.

It is clear that the Gypsies were not gloomy and lonely as many writers depicted them to be. They would marry and socialize and this eliminates the myth of loneliness and gloominess. Moreover, these people were great musicians, a profession that cannot be occupied by lonely and gloomy hearts. Concerning immorality, one would conclude that it was unacceptable before marriage but thereafter people would tolerate it to some extent based on Jan Yoors accounts.

Finally, the claims that the Gypsies were violent are true. The way they would get their brides depicts sheer violence and primitivism. Therefore, Jan Yoors finds some of the stereotypes as true while others as false. His work is amazing as it gives new insight into the life of Gypsies without bias. His is a true story based on experience not fiction.

Works cited

Bellman, Jonathan. “Stereotypes: The Gypsies in Literature and Popular Culture”. The

Style Hongrois in the Music of Western Europe. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993.

Polansky, Paul. “Original Research on Gypsies”. 2006. Web. 1 Feb. 2010.
http://www.paulpolansky.nstemp.com/gypsies.htm

Yoors, Jan. “The Gypsies.” Waveland Press, 1967.

Abortion

Thesis

The main objective of the paper focuses on abortion and its effects and it is equally an analysis of the developmental problems associated with this act. Another significance of the study regards on various approaches and theories in support or against abortion. The paper also forms an analysis over other probable choices in the subject matter. Lastly, the research takes sides concerning the issue based on the findings.

The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the act of abortion and offer suggestions from the research on ways of availing it as a medical procedure to eliminate the social stigma associated with the act especially for the physicians.

“Abortion is a criminal offence but should be a legalized practice pertinent to the law” This paper is an analysis of effects and support for legalizing abortion, as well as its implication to future societal growth. It is an analysis of dominant arguments and theories for the act at certain circumstances in relation to the style of leadership.

There are considerable amount of pressure in matters concerning abortion. There have been great changes on matter pertaining abortion, for instance legislatives in Mexico voted for a law that decriminalize abortion, seen as a great support especially for the pro-abortion activists who fought the harsh laws that criminalized the act. The problem associated with legalization of abortion concerns its continual illegal practice and thus the deaths of thousands of women all around the globe.

Dominant arguments in support of abortion

Abortion entails complete expulsion referred to as the spontaneous abortion or it can also be partial termination. The question most people including professional would raise concerns the point where the circumstances are viable. The issue of foetal viability has become a burning legal or scientific debate with varying laws and suggestions among states.

The basic or most dominant argument regarding the morality of abortion is whether the act is justifiable if the mother’s life is in danger. According to Domino (2007), there is a difference between threatened and inevitable abortion but it differs because of the organizational differences regarding the cultural believes and interpretations.

According to him “dilatation, rupture of membranes, or expulsion of products in the presence of vaginal bleeding portends inevitable abortion.” Abortion gets a recommendation when there is profuse virginal bleeding during pregnancies regardless of whether the contractions are present or not. This can be due to these ruptured membranes, expelled products of conceptions, or dilated membranes”

Judith Jarvis Thomson argument

In her writing, Thomson argues based on a difference between claims on the rights of a foetus that ethically, it is obligatory for a mother to take all necessary measures to keeping it alive. According to Thomson (2008), “the foetus is an ethically relevant person and with a right to life but the ethical legitimacy of abortion can survive the concession”. Therefore, the theory implicates that abortion is not always ethically permissible.

Antithesis

The issue of abortion has many controversies such as the comparison between the weights of two conflicting human rights where the most essential one prevails. The right to life may pose as the most important human right. Scientific indications are that every individual life is unique in its nature and weigh more over other life contemplations.

According to Domino (2007), on “managing spontaneous abortion”, abortion gets the extreme act of violation, which is permanent and devastating to the unborn child.

It is an act against infants’ livelihood. Life is justifiable for all unborn children and it continues through early childhood development to adulthood until death. Would it not be more evil for a mother to deliver a child and abandon it in the world to die? Considering such an argument, then people should choose the lesser of any two evils in a given situation, and the argument would prevail.

Morally the conclusion to the argument may be that abortion is a selfish act. Does thus mean that people should quantify caring of the unborn child through out the gestation period regardless of whether the challenges or risks involve less evil compared to other future involvement with the child? The argument negates the existence of possible vices concerning the childbearing procedures.

Philosophically, does one’s control over her body overshadow the fundamental right to life? The argument over this would be a non-existent right to such kind of control. Considering that such a situation exists, the pregnant woman’s rights would outweigh the baby’s rights to life meaning there would be more important life than another would. Contrary, unlike pro-abortion activists, the believers have strengthened their opposition against abortion.

There criticism has heightened in the various sectors of the society making the health divisions incapable of taking a stand over the issue considering that the legalization highly affects the profession. In 2009, thirteen states amended their constitution, which so legislation of more critical measures concerning abortion. With this kind of resistance from the highest political spheres, the matter continues to be of great controversy always linked to the religion.

Another least expected argument especially with legalization of abortion would be the issue of unwanted children. The issue of quality life may be absurd in this context since hard work is what is supposedly meant to redeem poor quality and life has value regardless of quality.

Most people would argument this to be a selfish act since it denies the child its right to live, so that the life of those in existence can improve. Logically, doest this imply that we can eliminate those lacking quality life so that those who enjoy some quality can have an improvement?

Is aborting a private act? It is reasonable to state that a child belongs to the society and terminating its life is a loss to the society. Termination of its life in the name of “a private act” would haunt not only the victim but the society as well since the cultural believes and acts shows that we ought to allow moral value to any human being or we face suffering from humanity or values.

Lastly, is Sprengel (1999) post the argument in the Fundamental Issues of Abortion, He indicated the probability of delivering unwanted children who are prone to engaging in crime. Would it be sensible to support abortion on this argument? Justice states that one is innocent until proven otherwise.

Reasonably, the argument would be unjust. The unwanted children who are in existence have a chance to reform. Allowing abortion over such a possibility would presume that the death penalty get uses that are of much less criminal charges than murder. This act would indicate lack of love or concern for humanity.

In line with Sprengel (1999), it is a scientific fact that a child is a unique human being with a right to life. This is more important and fundamental fact over other rights including that of abortion if there exists any, which portrays the act as permissible. According to him, “the strength of pro-life is not because of cleaver artificial definitions that make things convenient but one that acknowledges unique individual life.”

Susan Sherwin argument

On analysis to offer the available perspectives into allowing but controlling the performance lawfully as the first part of the essay emphasizes, according to Sherwin, (1992) the discussion of abortion overlooks, “the distinctive analysis of feminists’ ethics”. She indicates that most authors will presume acquaintance with common arguments to overshadow women’s right to choosing abortion.

The feminists’ ethics arguments have a focus upon broader frameworks as opposed to moral and general consideration of legal tolerability. There is ignorance over the overall struggle especially within the sexists’ societies over control of women productivity. Women are supposed to respond to their inner feelings and relationships with others.

In line with Sherwin’s writing (1992), there is a lot of tension on the issue of abortion. “No matter how appalling and dangerous the conditions are, women form widely diverse cultures and historical periods have pursued abortions.” She expresses her concern that if abortion is not legalized, made safe and accessible to society, then women will continue to seek illegal and life-threatening acts of foetal-life terminations behind the law.

According to him, activists who are against abortion dismiss her point of view because they are willing to meet the cost of avoiding reality. Loss of women’s lives as they pursue illegal abortions behind the doors is due to the restrictive policies. (Sherwin, 1992)

Peter Singer argument

According to his writing, Singer (1993) argumentatively states that the foetus has no expressible feeling, preferences and subsequently no conscious suffering.

This is an indication that people have different preferences regarding the survival of unborn foetus therefore foetal survival is not a barricade over abortion on condition that the practice is painless. Singer argument proceeds to show that people support the act of abortion on the stand that the mother’s rights overrule those of the foetus.

The literature portrayed by Singer indicates that the unborn child does not understand life and its preferences and therefore if someone has preferences over its existence, preferably within the first month of the development period, then termination would be justifiable. (1993)

According to various moral controversies concerning the issue of abortion investigated in this paper, a conclusion view indicates that the act ought to be permissible over special scenarios, which should correlate to the laws of the country or state. There ought to be clarity and certainty that pertains the law over such critical matters. (Victoria Law Reform Commission, 2002)

Most ruling would lack clarity over lawful abortion and the extent on prohibition of the same. The law must provide a straightforward legal setting for physicians to conduct their operations. This would include analysis of the woman’s circumstances. All actions ought to be supportive to the best interest of the patient.

Women suffer from distress and humiliation on the hands of physicians because of the stigma associated with the act especially when it lacks proper elaboration and thus the deaths associated with abortions.

References

Domino, F. (2007). The 5-minutes clinical consult Abortion, Spontaneous. 16th Ed Washington DC. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins publishers

Singer, P. (1993) Taking Life: The Embryo and the Fetus’ in Practical Ethics (2nd Ed)

Sprengel, M. K. (1999, October 27). Fundamental Issues of Abortion. Heritage House’76 inc. Retrieved February 1, 2010 from http://www.abortionfacts.com

Sherwin, S. (1992). No Longer Patient: Feminist Ethics and Health Care, Philadelphia: Temple University Press

Thomson, J. J. (2008) Abortion. Boston Review, Retrieved February 1, 2010 from
http://bostonreview.net/BR20.3/thomson.html> at 15 February 2008.

Victoria Law Reform Commission. (2002) Laws of Abortion. Melbourne Victoria (Second Ed) Retrieved February 1, 2010 from www.lawreform.vic.gov.au

Roles of international financial institutions

Introduction

Since inception at Bretton, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have undergone several transformations in their roles of supporting the global financial architecture. There are some significant progress regarding globalization of the financial architecture, which has a good boost to foreign operation and private investment.

Poor performance due to poorly managed developed or developing institutions led to re-examination of the role state in curbing mismanagement and therefore enhancing the shift of these roles to other private market-based approaches. These transformations make the private international finance trusts as well as the entrepreneurship sectors to play a main role of ensuring economic development besides lending.

This paper is a discussion of the roles played by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in their mandate to provide assistance by collaborating with the private sectors in pursuit for adjusting the techniques to suite the required market oriented developments. What role do the financial institutions play in ensuring clear principles of economical growth commitments?

The twenty first century requires procedures and measure that enhance transformation of the global scenarios. Today the International financial institutions (IFIs) are increasingly engaging countries that are economically poor into investing in resourceful developments that support the economical growth. (IFC Magazine, 2010)

This has been possible to achieve due to the strict measures taken over violations involving the internationally applied humanitarian laws. There are various hindrances to the role of IFIs to act as agents of promoting and ensuring adherence to the international humanitarian laws.

These obstacles include the countries structural and political concerns. The institutions however have the advantage by the fact of being in a position of publically making harsh utterances against such countries, indicating the country’s level of tolerating violations or ability to absorb them. They have the ability to place weight behind the humanitarian law thus forcing those in the need of support to abide by the rules. (Viknin, 2005)

With this reasoning, they have the main role of investigating a country’s commitment to impunity before loaning or funding projects. The institutions have the communal role of influencing engagement even if symbolically meant for financial considerations.

The strong growth of the private developing markets contributes hugely to fill the needed investment of flowing capital. The institutions support growth of the savings gap in the developing nations and reduce people dependency by diversifying and sourcing funds in terms of strategically planned investments.

According to Wogan (2010), the financial institutions use the flow of private capital to fill the financial gaps by conveying technologies, changing the market behaviours, investing in enhancement of managerial skills and funds distribution channels. They thus have a key role of assessing the impact resulting form the flow of private capital on the developing economies.

The international financial bodies have to play the role of changing the market positions. The traditional objectives of some of these institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF entail elevation of poverty in developing countries, enhancing measures that promote economic growth and protection of the environment.

Other institutions like the EBRD have come up with an extra role of fostering transition of its operations to cover the open market economies by raising the living standards of those involved with borrowing though enlightening and expanding their rights as well as guiding in their basic choices.

In line with the World Bank reports (2002), currently, the financial institutions are face up to fostering development through expansion of the private sector opportunities of developing economic goals. They have to ensure the poor participate in activities supporting environmentally sustainable growth.

The institutions can ensure this growth by assisting the governments’ role of creating the conditions necessary for market-orientation towards the achievements and by being participants in investing.

They ought to work with the private sectors with the aim of expanding to become participating investors in the private sectors by improving the flow of working capital. Generally, the role fosters the tradition role of stabilizing the macro economical firms as well as ensuring provision of the required physical, legal and authoritarian infrastructure.

In collaborating with the private sectors, the financial institutions are obliged to think like them by subjecting to the dynamics of opportunities in the market. They thus meet the challenges of enhancing creativity and flexibility to respond to market needs easily.

This was evidential when the World Bank transformed to an infrastructure back in pursuit of uplifting the private sectors since they were highly influential to the economical growth and was less venerable to corruption. (2002) the support of the private establishments requires the lenders to abide by the flexibility and confidentiality involved in privatized operations. Engagement with new role comes with extra facilities such as accountability and new commercial risk analysis, avoidance and control cultures. (Mirza, 2006)

They have a key role of coming up with operational principals for well run institutions. Their aim is to expand the private sectors, therefore they should stay clear of those activities that the sectors are in good position to handle and rather engage in activities that make a broad contribution to the transitional process of economical growth.

They have the role of engaging other financial institutions to assist in placing down the funding required for a chosen investment. This is a vital role in transition process and achievement of a wider perspective for development.

Today the financial institutions have the role of funding the building of other financial institutions in the local markets. This is a measure to strengthen their capital base through investing in projects offering broad perspectives.

There is an urgent need for well functioning monetary branches to fulfil the role played by the financial lending institutions in fulfilling the market economies. They act as intermediaries to collect savings and invest them in the aim of commanding hard budgetary allocations into the economic recovery endeavours that enhance development.

One of the traditional roles played by the financial institution entails financing of an efficient infrastructure. (IFC Magazine, 2006) The constrains experienced on most of the budgetary allocations means that further commercially oriented investments are required for enhancing access to the private financial sectors. Important markets disciplines ought to enhance control of costs and minimize risks as a measure of providing revenue as a disciplines introduced by the financial institutions today.

Conclusion

A new focus on the market-oriented economies is highly supporting the flow of capital invested mainly in the private sector. The main support by majority of the financial institutions seems to shift goals to the development of the private sector by capitalizing on their strengths while minimizing the risks involved.

The private markets and capital flows involved are powerful forces that represent great opportunities for growth. The financial institutions ought to provide clear principals regarding the selection and design. By supporting the private sectors, the aim of the financial institutions is to encourage or influence them into promoting the sectors that they are not able to reach.

A well-built financial and physical infrastructure creates jobs opportunities and enables wide market growths. Considering the various roles of the institutions, they are able to meet the high social and environmental standards of the companies by enhancing procedures to be followed by clients, which they teach during their projects support procedures or advisory services to support financing projects.

References

IFC magazine. (2010) Role of international financial institutions. Retrieved third February 2010 from www.ifc.org/publications/pubs/impact/impact.html

Mirza, A. (2006, July 25). Managing Risk in Financial Sector. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from http://ezinearticles.com/

The World Bank. 2002. Global Development Finance. Washington DC European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Transition Report 2000. London.

Vaknin, Ph.D., S. (2005, April 8). Financial Crises, Global Capital Flows and the International Financial Architecture.

Wogan, J. (2010, January 18). The Importance and Role of the Bank of England. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from http://ezinearticles.com

Vietnam War era

Kerry’s significance

John Kerry was awarded a number of medals for his role in the Vietnam War. These medals include Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Kerry’s ability to lead the swift boats in the enemy territory in an effort to reduce their attack on Americans and Vietnamese civilians through gathering intelligence is considered heroic. Kerry commandeered the boats in a bid to cut off or disrupt the supply of resources to the enemy.

Kerry’s actions during the Vietnam war that eventually led to his acquisition of the Purple Heart is a as a result of his ability to stop the actions of the enemy as evident in their offloading of war materials at a river. These enemies attempted to run thus prompting an exchange of fire subsequently wounding Kerry. This highlights Kerry’s significance as evident in his role concerned with gathering intelligence and limiting the activities of the enemy.

Kerry’s significance is also evident in his ability to coordinate the actions of the American soldiers and the Vietnamese military; this is particularly evident in carefully calculated decisions that entailed timely firing at the enemy, one particular event is when a Vietnam Cong was approaching Kerry’s boat with a rocket necessitating Kerry to run after him and end his life in an effort to save the lives of rest of the crew.

It is for this reason that Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. Kerry’s actions are also significant as seen in his ability alter the strategy pursued by the Americans and the Vietnamese military in an effort to deal with security threats as they occurred.

Kerry’s uniqueness

Kerry is unique in a number of ways. His ability to highlight the evils associated with the war in Vietnam is not only considered noble but a necessary process that makes it easier for America to correct mistakes committed during the war. Kerry indicates that a number of civilians in Vietnam were raped, had their ears and heads cut off.

This is in addition to other atrocities committed against the Vietnamese and their property. It is worth mentioning that food supplies were poisoned, domesticated animals shot at will and villages razed. In as much as Americans were interested in enhancing democracy in the region, it is worth mentioning that the locals were only interested in working in the paddy rice fields. They did not care much about communism or democracy.

According to Kerry the war in Vietnam was unnecessary. It is notable that the ability of John Kerry to highlight such circumstances to the foreign relations committee without fear of victimization makes him unique in comparison to other Vietnamese war veterans.

Kerry’s Influence

Kerry influenced the War in Vietnam as seen in his courageous decisions that made it easier to save the lives of American soldiers, while in Vietnam Kerry advocated for pacification of areas that were less volatile such as the country side. Kerry saw it convenient to allow the Vietnamese to take charge of their destiny thus calling upon the decision makers in Washington to initiate changes in strategy which will allow training of Vietnamese soldiers. This would have made it easier for such entities to take charge of their own destiny.

As a civilian Kerry influenced the continuation of the war by highlighting its disadvantages thus the need to initiate measures in this respect. Kerry’s actions at home are termed as ‘civilian courage’. In conclusion Kerry’s political aspirations as portrayed by his desire to become President of the United States years ago highlights the need to correct the mistakes committed by Americans in Vietnam.

Reflection of “Conundrum” by Morris

The writer of “Conundrum” Jan Morris formerly James Morris provides an autobiography of personal gender transformation from biological male to female because she felt that she belonged to the wrong body. The writing in the text is elegant to portray anachronistic perception.

Although spent in the male pursuits of the traditional times, the author’s male existence presents a view of fascinating life. She indicates the times her service was a fascination but not to her satisfaction for instance, the roles of a husband, father or a member in the army.

The issue of sexual characteristics denied her happiness. All that she is covers all that she does. She ironically graces all these conundrum of gender difference with some self–condemning wit and humour. Born in 1927, the writer spent thirty-five years in personal mystery regarding gender and another ten years undergoing anticipated changes; she underwent surgery in Casablanca in 1972 to live her expected life.

The writing presents the reader with conjectures over how much one has to undergo in desperation of reconciling the inner with the outer self. The option to undergo the complex surgery in a clinic also appears primitive. The presentation of events in the literature brings out some special aspects of uniquely accounted realization. It is possible for the readers to move along the transition of Jan Morris from the male to female world through the well-articulated geographical setting of events.

It is possible to connect the setting to the phases involved in the search for an identity. She began with a controllable revealing and analysis of the new self to come to the conclusive satisfaction. This is evident in her indication that “there is nobody in the world I would rather be than me” (174). Her writing helps many people to conclude that self-acceptance shapes the various feelings and ideas perceived in the world.

The uncertainties that Jan Morris faces during this uncommon procedure, especially the unfavourable conditions at the clinic for this complicated surgery show her value for the prior lifestyle. According to her, “It was dark by now, and the room was uninviting… Inside, the clinic seemed to be plunged into a permanent silence” (Morris, 138-9).

She succumbs to the anaesthesia to undergo the gender transformation through surgery (142), and her satisfaction of the physical outcome is evident of her use of simile regarding the experience of the surgery. , “We were like prisoners,” (142)

Her writing also illustrates the positive and encouraging aspect of the recovery process. She indicates the perception of the feminine world where she meets great kindness, for instance her welcoming back to Europe encouraging.

At the airport, an executive on the plane met Morris with “great kindness”, and she felt “like a princess emancipated from her degrading disguise” (146). The relationship with the outside world appeared stronger and better. “I felt more strongly than even all their kinships with me,” (148)

The conversion was equally dependable on the acceptance nature of others especially the family members and close friends. This was the basis for her perception regarding the differences in the treatment women get in comparison to the male counterparts. The treatment varies from one location to another in the world (148), but according to her, women receive kinder treatment. (150)

The nasty experience of surgery at Casablanca clinic fades just as the male lifestyle. In line to her writing, she stated that, “I become more accustomed to my womanhood, and partly because I do not want to remember” (160). The story helps the readers to understand the experiences concern with trans-sexuality and appreciate the reasons behind the decisions for the procedures.

Works Cited

Jan Morris. Conundrum. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1974.

Google in China

The case study of china involving a powerful Google corporation is an interesting social responsibility considering their business mission declaration “Don’t Be Evil”. The biggest challenge Google has to face is the fact that china offers an enormous profitable market considering its populace. There has to be a dilemma regarding marketing and the legal, cultural or ethical challenges that may be involved.

Culturally the case has set up a stepping-stone for the human rights activists who seem gagged by the government’s rules and regulations. The government reminds all the companies especially those involved with the transfer of information to the outside world to ensure strict abidance with its rules. The state’s control of the cyber space may have been involved with the threats placed by Google forcing them to consider pulling out of its services.

According to Google, sophisticated and targeted cyber attacks seem to originate from the Chinese government in their aim to preview emails of human rights activists as a security measure. The aim of the Chinese government is to try to filter some internet contents to maintain a strong grip on power. The attack also hits other companies such as Yahoo and Adobe.

The ethical challenge Google has to face entails its decisions during the 2006 search engine launch regarding business undertakings in china, where it agreed the government pronouncement to censor the search engine “Google.cn”. Arguably, Google played a role in enhancing conditions for the attack by giving in to the rule that encourage bullying of human rights by the government.

According to the users in china, by leaving China, Google leaves its clients in a sober mood but equally, it is more painful to learn that it went against its principle of “Don’t Be Evil” when it agreed to venture into China on condition of accepting censorship in 2006.

The Google top executives (co-founders) Larry Page and Sergey Bin face an uphill task over deciding the way forward. They have to analyse the possibility of bleaching their terms of trade with the Chinese government, which can as well result to legal charges.

If their break on the contract concerning the agreement for the government to monitor content causes internal security risks, then legal settlement regarding the matter might be inevitable. The legal risk involves braking China’s sophisticated network used to monitor and limit information through the fight for human rights of expression. (U.S. Department of State, 2010)

As the saying goes, one’s man meat is another’s poison”. The agony Google managers’ faces in today’s global market has triggered their rival’s “Baidu” speculation of the move as a hypocritical and financially driven. According to the market research companies, financially they dismiss the move claiming Google’s failure to capture the market with an estimate of 15-30 percent of the users compared to the rival’s 70 percent.

Arguably, Google may be aiming at a long-term strategy, where their opportunity lost will be the short-term revenue loss in China and the opportunity cost would be better and higher market penetration than the current situation. They would not wish to lose client’s trust totally, because the future endeavours to dominate the search and mail services.

Their move therefore entails gaining people’s trust regarding mails, calls, storage of documents, pictures and other files as well as the web search services. The financial disaster can only be catalysed by lose of trust and not the short-term back off to strategize.

A well-calculated move is the ultimate benefit. Considering the public snub of the Chinese authorities, Google risks other key U.S. companies and the government partnership in other business involvements in China. China is a potential exporter of a wide range of manufactured good for the U.S. consumers.

References

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, “Background

Note: China,” Retrieved January 30, 2010 from

Depression: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Human beings have experienced psychological disorders since the ancient ages which can be categorized into different groups. Psychological or otherwise known as mental disorders can be defined as patterns of behavioral expression or mental symptoms that can have various impacts on someone’s normal life (Anderson, 2002). Usually, they make the individual to be greatly distressed. There are several psychological disorders which have been diagnosed and listed in the psychiatric universal records.

They include adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, cognitive disorders, dissociative disorders, impulse-control disorders, and mental disorders as a result of a general medical condition like depression due to diabetes. Clinical depression, one of the psychological disorders, can be defined as a mental illness that affects both the emotional and physical behavior of an individual over a period of several weeks (Anderson, 2002).

It is characterized by such feelings as worthlessness, suicidal tendencies, sense of guilt, failure in concentration and decision-making, fluctuating appetite and sleep patterns and general loss of interest or pleasure. The depressed person will also exhibit weird behavior like shouting, violence, agitation, drug abuse, and general difficulty in social relationships. There are different perspectives of regarding depression as a psychological disorder.

This research paper seeks to explore depression from a cross-cultural perspective with key focus on the conceptions of depression, its epidemiological aspects, different manifestations of depression, the evaluation of depression as a disorder, and the various hypotheses concerning depression.

Under ordinary psychiatric diagnosis, depression has been regarded as being due to biological, genetic and psychological factors (Aldwin & Greenberger, 1997). Just like any other disease, depression has got no single cause. Extreme levels of neurotransmitters found in the brain caused by varying levels of body hormones can result in depression at a biological level. Other types of depression are genetic and can be inherited down the family lineage and in most cases result in bipolar disorder.

Stressful experiences at work place, school, or home can play a significant role in the onset of depression among persons with the genetic makeup that increases the vulnerability of falling ill. Furthermore, recent research suggests that major depression can be experienced as a result of psychological changes involving the structure and functioning of the brain. These causes are the ones that have been clinically diagnosed by psychiatrists.

However, there seems to be other perspectives of looking at depression among human beings, especially across different cultures and religious inclinations. Current researches into depression focus mainly on its cross-cultural understanding with an aim of investigating specifics and universals in its experience.

According to recent research, different cultures have greatly varying experiences of depression despite the core syndrome being universal across the cultures. This reflects how the meanings of illness can be generated within a given social context (Schwab & Schwab, 2002).

Culture can be defined as an external and internal variable within a given society which involves both practices and representations in terms of beliefs, knowledge, and ways of thinking, attitudes, and other hosts of subjective experiences. There are forces associated to a particular culture that enhance, shape, and carry on mental disorder. Many researchers have argued that virtually all emotions are a result of social experiences and hence depression as an emotion is socially contrived.

The emotional behavior of individuals is judged relative to the standards set within the given social context (Karasz, 2005). It is therefore crucial to note that these cultural factors play a central role in the quest for accurately understanding depression as a disorder.

Research findings reveal that women score higher compared to men across most cultures when it comes to vulnerability of being depressed. In Ghana, women who experience depression at the age when they can no longer bear children, otherwise referred to as menopause, consider it to be as a result of evil spirits and sorcery (Field, 1990).

In this case, if a woman becomes depressed, the society will not consider it as a mental illness. No medical help would be sought if such a woman was nervous, restless, lacked sleep, and other behavioral manifestations due to the cultural teachings in place concerning such experiences. It would be a struggle in vain to try and challenge such beliefs head on. Understanding the culture and trying to explain the medical perspective in a more clear language that can be comprehended by the lay people is recommended.

A research conducted by Bashiri and Spielvogel (1999) revealed that women are at more risk of experiencing depression compared to men across different cultures. There is a period during which there is increased risk of experiencing mental disorders and is normally called the postpartum period. It is commonly reported among new mothers.

The report further suggests that about 10% to 15% of new mothers in North American and Europe are prone to depression. The ability to detect this depression especially among new mothers demands the recognition of symptoms of depression. It may also require special screening using specialized/standardized instruments which may prove difficult when handling women from diverse cultures.

For instance, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) cannot be used to detect depression among Japanese women. Depression in Asian, Hispanic, and African cultures are commonly expressed through somatization. In western cultures, however, depression is mostly expressed through guilt feelings and complaints of sadness as compared to the Asian, Hispanic, and African cultures (Schwab & Schwab, 2002).

Moreover, lower incidences of depression among Asian women in their home country were reported as compared to the immigrants in North America who reported higher rates of postpartum depression. This raises concern in the ways of assessing depression across cultures. Many psychiatrists use the conventional ‘Western’ ways to assess depressive disorders and ignore the consideration of ethno-cultural dimension.

As far as handling depression is concerned, cultural differences play a great role. In the Hispanic, Asian, and African cultures, postpartum rituals are performed in order to help new mothers cope with their motherhood lifestyle.

In the United States, immigrant mothers are encouraged to perform their respective rituals in order to relieve the risk of depression resulting from stress due to accumulation. As time goes by, the US and the European states are continually becoming multicultural and psychiatrists will want to familiarize themselves with the diverse rituals that assist in the transition to parenthood.

When treating depression, the use of description is unavoidable. However, the words used do vary greatly from one culture to another. Describing depression has two approaches which are both essential. Firstly, depression can be described as a feeling of sadness. Secondly, it is an illness that one can suffer from.

In many cultures, it may be much easier to find words to explain depression as a feeling of sadness. However, it may not be easy at all to describe depression as an illness. This fact calls for a deeper understanding of word usage in a given culture in order to clearly describe depression both as a feeling and as an illness.

Furthermore, different societies have different convictions concerning how depression can be treated. They seek assistance from different alternatives ranging from religious or traditional health care providers to modern health care services like counseling (Aldwin & Greenberger, 1997).

This diversity is due to various reasons. Modern medical services cannot provide answers to all health issues especially mental disorders. Therefore, people will seek divine intervention from priests, pastors, prophets, or traditional medicine men and magicians. These efforts are mostly driven by the belief that depression is caused by other supernatural forces.

As mentioned above, counseling is one of the methods of handling depressed individuals. It is the commonest method used in the Western societies. Just like any other method, counseling has developed within the western culture and is mainly based on psychological theories.

Prominent personalities conducted their researches on understanding and explaining mental disorders and were universally accepted within their cultures (Karasz, 2005). However, the theories are strange in other non-Western cultures and hence may not work effectively in the treatment of depression among such people. Besides this underlying fact, appropriate and locally accepted counseling approaches can be used successfully in these cultures.

It has been established that depression includes a wide range of mental disorders that differ significantly in their degree of severity and period of time over which it is experienced. The accuracy in understanding depression, therefore, calls for cultural, psychological, and biological consideration. Future researchers should concentrate on all the three key perspectives of depression.

This paper has broadly explored depression from a cross-cultural perspective. It has mainly focused on the various conceptions of depression, the assessment approaches used, epidemiological aspects, and the different cultural theories and hypotheses on depression. We can therefore conclude that the discussion of depressive disorders can never be complete without exploring the cross-cultural dimension.

References

Aldwin, C. & Greenberger, E. (1997). Cultural Variation in the Conception of Depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15 (6), 325-367.

Anderson, C. A. (2002). Depression: A cross-cultural Consideration. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32 (4), 427-442.

Bashiri, N. & Spielvogel, A. M. (1999). Postpartum depression: a cross-cultural perspective. A Journal of Psychiatry Update, 6 (3), 82-87.

Field M. (1990). Search for Security: An Ethnographic Study of Rural Ghana. A journal of Cross-Cultural Findings, 5 (2), 123-154.

Karasz, A. (2005). Conceptual Models of Depression: A Cultural Perspective. A Journal of Family and Community Health, 26 (7), 1425-37.

Schwab, J. J. & Schwab, M. E. (2002). Culture and Mental Illness: An Epidemiological Survey. American Journal of Community Psychology, 3 (6), 789-812.

The Lightly Heavy Load: Women in Colonial America

Introduction

Women have in the present age been accredited with playing a pivotal role in the building of our nation. However, this task did not begin in the recent years but can trace its beginning back to the colonial American era where the traditional role of women was reinvented due to the realities of the new world. Prior to the colonial era, the roles of women were greatly limited by the traditional attitudes of women as the “weaker sex”.

However, with the movement to the New World, their previously clearly defined roles began to be blurred mostly as a consequence of the labor deficit in colonial America which led to a state where the contribution by the women was most vital for the survival of the family. However, this new definition of women led to the women being involved in labor that had previously been taken up by men in addition to their domestic chores. This resulted in women being generally faced with multiple hardships.

The life of the American woman in the colonial era is thus interpreted in different light by many a historian. However, the commonly held notion that the society generally devalued the contribution of the women and subjected them to inhuman treatment and suffering is a gross misinterpretation as is demonstrated by the “notes on Virginia” by Thomas Jefferson[1].

While the lives of the women in Colonial American were inevitably marked with multiple responsibilities and hardships, the women also took the time out to make merriment thus helping to lighten their weary loads thus creating a balance that made life bearable.

This paper shall set out to document the typical life of the women in that era by doing an extensive research and analyzing firsthand accounts from these women. The paper shall then delve into the activities that made the daily lives of the women fun to some extent.

Colonial America and women

The first colonists were men who traveled to North America and claimed lands for the Kings and Queens of their homelands; these lands were known as colonies. The colonies proved to be a major attraction to many Europeans who were either unemployed or did not own land.

The prospects of a new country where land was in abundance and the space was in plenty as opposed to the crowded cities of London and Paris saw thousands of Europeans move to the colonies. Some women traveled together with their husbands or independently with the hope of marrying off and starting new families in the new world. However, the realities that met the hopeful new immigrants were very different from what they had anticipated.

Kalman and Walker state most colonists originated from the European cities and were thus ill prepared for the harsh realities that met them in the wilderness that was the new world[2]. The cities, despite their many ills were equipped with social amenities. However, in the colonies, there were no farms, roads, homes or hospitals and the colonists were faced with illnesses and food shortages. This new realities bore down on the women population who had to reinvent themselves in order to cope.

The daily life of the colonial American Woman thus became characterized by the dual role of wife and family co-provider therefore making the colonial American Women fulfill a very important function in society. In addition to the traditional role of wife and mother, the women also played an economic role as they worked together with their male counterparts to produce foods and other supplies necessary for the survival of their families.

The colonial society was run by men and married women were expected to be subordinate to their husband. The role of the woman as dictated by society was that of primarily playing a supportive role to her husband and family. This can be demonstrated by an extract from the Godey’s Lady’s Book which advised that a woman must strive to live within the provisions of the man and take care to be grateful that the man has allowed her to keep his house[3].

This state was fortified by the law which dictated that the man held control of all property and married women had to relinquish their rights to any property to their husbands who were the sole controllers of both the women’s labor and access to economic resources[4].

Bearing in mind that most of the colonial American’s were practicing Christians, this stance of male women as subordinate to men was justified by use of the Old Testament’s patriarchal model which emphasized female inferiority and male superiority. As such, women could not undertake any economic activity independent of their husbands or fathers thus making them financially dependent on the male figures.

The English Common Law adopted in America dictated that through marriage, the husband and wife became as one person thus suspending the legal existence of the woman. In essence, this meant that a married woman’s inheritance, property, income and even her very clothing belonged to her husband and she could do nothing without her husband’s consent.

Some of the women who came to the new world came as Indentured servants. This were women whom, unable to pay for the trip from Europe, made deals with colonists sponsors to pay for their trips in return for which they agreed to work as servants to repay their sponsors by working in their homes, fields or workshops for as many as 7 years[5].

The fate of these women was far worse than that of the women who came with their husbands or families. First and foremost, the productive and reproductive labor of the indentured servants was completely controlled by their masters for the term of the indenture[6].

Most of these masters were not benevolent and thus forbade the women from marrying, leaving or even purchasing any property without their explicit permission. In addition to this, the women were paid wages that were below the current rates and despite the stipulation by the law as to the specified provisions they could receive, most masters provided only a bare minimal of food and cloths.

Women and Reproduction

Death was a constant reality to the early colonists both male and female alike. However, death as a result of childbirth was especially reserved for women. The population of the early settlers in America was fairly low and owing to diseases and other factors which raised the mortality rate, the population was greatly diminished.

This was in contrast to the high demand for labor that the new colonies demanded. As such, women were greatly pressured to have children as there was a heavy dependence on child labor for the family’s advancement[7]. On average, the colonial woman had 8 children in her lifetime. This was in spite of the bleak realities that each childbirth event held for the woman.

The possibility of death during childbirth was a constant reality to the women and in cases where the baby happened to be trapped inside the womb, any attempts at a Cesarean operation almost always resulted in the death of the mother. Middleton tells of the story of a young colonial wife, Mary Clapp who buried four of her infants before having her life prematurely ended as a result of a childbirth complication[8].

As if the childbearing task was not hard enough, most mothers were only allowed to rest for a few days before they were forced to resume their daily household chores.

This was especially hard for the women who were greatly weakened by the child bearing episode. In addition to this, the women had to carry with them their children to the fields where they worked since most families could not afford house helps to take care of the baby. In most cases, the first child had hardly been fully weaned before the next child was conceived and the cycle ran on.

Room for fun

Despite the many hardships that the women in colonial America faced, they also engaged in a lot of activities that enabled them to ease the hardships by enjoying themselves if only for a while. As has been noted in previous discussion, women were burdened with work throughout their lives. To liven up the drudgery that they were subjected to, women mostly took up working in groups.

This had a positive effect since the women could uplift each other’s spirits and generally encourage each other. A particularly interesting activity that the women undertook was competing in their work. They organized corn-husking parties and competed to see who could pick the most berries in the plantations or even spin the most thread[9]. This had the effect of converting an otherwise tiring and mundane task such as spinning yarn into a joy for the participants.

In addition to this, at times they would organize quilting bees. This was the most common activity that the women would comfortably do and deem as fun. In essence, they would carefully cut different pieces of clothes then sew them together so as to make a quilt. The one with the most beautiful quilt and with the best time was declared the winner of that competition. As mentioned earlier, women always worked in groups and as they worked they entertained themselves by singing.

This could be done randomly, or by forming designated groups which would compete against each other as they worked. To add on this, they would occasionally indulge themselves with spelling bee. In these bees, they would each ask for spellings and the one who got the most answers would have their chores done by the other women in that particular group.

Due to the strictness of the rules that governed these women regarding to their social freedom and responsibilities, they learned how to make their chores fun. For example, weddings and holiday preparations was the highlight of many women. They often enjoyed cooking and preparing such festivities.

In some states, women coming from high class families either through the parents or husband were allowed to play card games, smoke and even gamble. This was however under very strict supervision by a dominant male to monitor their behaviors and ensure that they do not shame the family’s name and status.

Harvest time was perhaps the worst time for the women during the colonial age. This was because they were supposed to help out in the fields while at the same time fulfilling their homely roles and obligations. Many hours were dedicated to this process in order to avoid spoilage and also to get better market value before the markets flooded with the same harvests.

After the busy harvest season, women engaged in the harvest fairs which were marked by celebration. To celebrate a good harvest, the women folk prepared savory dishes and indulged in little luxuries such as cakes and wild turkeys[10].

In some states, the harvest fairs were characterized by the preparation of a particular meal. This task was carried out by the women. The older women were expected to teach the younger ones how to do this in a bid to pass the knowledge through generations and consequently preserve the valued culture.

While the harvest fares were mostly simple in nature, modestly sized and lasted only for short durations, they offered a sense of solace and a variation to the months of self-denial and having to bear with hard work, extreme weather conditions and worst of all a society filled with disrespectful and unappreciative men.

Women in the colonial age often did some differentiated activities during the little free time they got. These activities went along way in showing their craftsmanship. Pottery was one such activity. Originally introduced by the Native women who worked as slaves, the craft over time became a common activity amongst the American women too[11]. Other than that, the women also perfected the art of knitting during this age.

According to the cultures that prevailed, all women were expected to master this craft before they got married. It was considered as a key point in showcasing one’s responsibility and care towards their family. It also showed that the woman was not lazy and minded her family’s perception in the community. It was also a good way of passing time as opposed to gossiping.

The women also involved themselves in making quilts. They were not merely for competition reasons. Some of these quilts were carefully mended with specific material/ cloths to ensure that they provide warmth for the families during winter and other cold seasons. To further show their craftsmanship, the women were also in charge of making candles and soap for family use. This was done after the slaughtering seasons.

It was the most disgusting job as they worked with suet from the slaughter houses. After heating the suet the removed fat would be used to make the candles or be mixed with burnt ash to make soap. This just goes to show the ingenuity possessed by these women considering the working conditions that they were entitled to. It was also during this age that the use of rugs was discovered.

The women would weave these rugs from worn out clothes and blankets and later use them in the house floor to prevent against splinters from the then wooden floors[12]. Even though these crafts were done in a bid to avoid confrontation from the men and society, they provided the women with avenues for both learning and socializing with each other.

The foundation of the new world was on godliness as dictated by the bible. Religion played a significant role in the lives of the women in the colonies. The women were devoted to establishing an orderly and religious colony and therefore had much spiritual zeal which came about as a result of their devotion to a good cause[13]. A particularly interesting facet of the life of the colonial woman was the organization of bible study groups and prayer groups.

In many homes it was more likely to find a bible than any other book. It was a daily ritual to read the Bible after meals and early in the morning before the members embarked on their daily activities. These tasks were done by the men who probably got an education but it was the duty of the women to ensure that the teachings are imparted in the lives of the children.

The women were not allowed to preach or speak in the presence of men. These were rules derived directly from the bible and were to be strictly followed. Disregarding them called for stern action against the culprit and would also bring shame to the family.

Women were also supposed to attend bible study sessions in which they were given biblical citations as to how they are supposed to live, their position in the society and their roles in the family setting. At the same time, they were taught the importance of prayers and how to pray.

Marriage to them was a privilege and sacred. Promiscuity especially on the women side was considered as the greatest sin of all and the women found guilty for this would forever be banished from the community and the family would be carry that shame through generations to come.

In accordance to dressing, women were supposed to wear a loose dress and cover their hair. This was a sign of decency as well as high morals. These gowns were to fully cover their necks up to the ankles. This was because of the general belief that a woman’s body was a source of temptations. Therefore dressing in this manner was to avoid tempting men into having impure thoughts.

Conclusion

This paper set out to illustrate that the women in colonial America faced a lot of challenges in their lives and to reinforce this statement, a detailed discussion has been provided as to their chores, children and husbands. However, despite this, this paper has also conceded that these women still managed to find the time to do things which were fun so as to lighten their otherwise very heavy loads.

By reviewing the lives of women at that time and other relevant literature, this paper has showcased the different tasks that women undertook so as to overcome the difficulties inherent in their lives. Examples have been given which demonstrated that despite the challenges, prejudices and difficulties that faced women, they focused on what was most important; building a better tomorrow.

Their ingenuity in terms of craftsmanship and nurturing instincts portrayed in colonial America have ever since evolved leading to advances in the pottery, candle and soap making industries.

From this research paper, it can be authoritatively stated that the women did manage to overcome the limits that society and the realities of their everyday living presented to make a comfortable life for their families and themselves. In today’s society which is characterized by wide spread disillusionment and a broken down family structure it would seem that we have a lot to learn from the lifestyle experienced by women in the colonial age.

Bibliography

Abramovitz, Mimi. Regulating the lives of women: social welfare policy from colonial times to the present. South End Press, 1996.

Earle, Morse, Alice. Home Life in Colonial Days. Pelican Publishing Company, 1998.

Humphrey, Sue carol. The Revolutionary era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.

Kalman, Bobbie and Walker, Niki. Colonial WOmen. Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003.

Kamensky, Jane. The Colonial Mosaic 1600-1760. Oxford University Press, 1995.

Marble, Annie. The Women Who Came In The Mayflower. Babylon Dreams, 2009.

Middleton, Richard. Colonial America: a history, 1565-1776. Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.

Miller, Marie, Brandon. Good Women of a Well-blessed Land: Women’s Lives in Colonial America. Twenty-First Century Books, 2003.

Brian Tubbs, How Were Women Treated in Early America? http://colonial-america.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_were_women_treated_in_early_america (accessed Jan, 2007)
Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker. Colonial Women (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003),11
Peter Pappas. Re-Defining the Role of Women in Industrial America. www. edteck.com/dbq. (Accessed February 3, 2010).
Mimi Abramovitz. Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. (South End Press, 1996), 54.
Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker. Colonial Women (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003), 4
Mimi Abramovitz. Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. (South End Press, 1996), 56.
Mimi Abramovitz. Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. (South End Press, 1996), 56.
Richard Middleton. Colonial America: a history, 1565-1776 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2002), 246.
Marie Brandon. Good Women of a Well-blessed Land: Women’s Lives in Colonial America (Twenty-First Century Books, 2003), 57.
Annie Marble. The Women Who Came In The Mayflower, (Babylon Dreams, 2009), 17.
Jane Kamensky. The colonial mosaic 1600-1760, (Oxford University Press, 1995), 56
Richford Nannette. About colonial crafts, (2009)
Annie Marble. The Women Who Came In The Mayflower, (Babylon Dreams, 2009), 9.

Go Top