“The Godly Family Of Colonial Massachusetts” “The Godly Family of Colonial Massachusetts” Puritans didn’t really think of their family as a private household, but as an essential part of society. Many communities tied families to each other by birth or marriage. The communities of the seventeenth-century, being small, had many marriages and remarriages that created a kinship, which was a difficult to understand. In-laws and distant cousins were known as brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, and cousins. This relationship was very important in the social, economic life of the community, because it helped to develop trading networks and investments. Partnerships within families were important, because some members had their own ships. Merchant and artisan families kept their craft skills within the family, by teaching their sons and/or nephews the trade.
For economical purposes, it was very important that everything was within family. The father was the authority figure in the family. He represented his family and supported the family. His wife, servants, and children were to submit to his authority (if the children cursed or hit their father, they were penalized with death). Where the sons would live when they got married was up to their father (usually around the parental homestead). The Puritan doctrine states that the wife is not equal to her husband. She was not allowed to vote, had to submit to her husband’s commands, and had to show him an attitude of reverence (fear him out of love). The Puritans did provide the wife with some safeguards in the doctrine; such as being able to divorce her husband if he’s impotent, cruel, has abandoned and failed to provide for the family.
Though the father seems to be the dominant one, his wife does have the power to leave him is she chooses to (with a good reason). History Essays.