Ranging from Georgia's founding in the 1730s until the
American Revolution in the 1770s, Georgia's Frontier Women
explores women's changing roles amid the developing demographic,
economic, and social circumstances of the colony's settling.
Georgia was launched as a unique experiment on the borderlands of
the British Atlantic world. Its female population was far more
diverse than any in nearby colonies at comparable times in their
formation. Ben Marsh tells a complex story of narrowing
opportunities for Georgia's women as the colony evolved from
uncertainty toward stability in the face of sporadic warfare,
changes in government, land speculation, and the arrival of slaves
and immigrants in growing numbers.
Marsh looks at the experiences of white, black, and Native
American women-old and young, married and single, working in and
out of the home. Mary Musgrove, who played a crucial role in
mediating colonist-Creek relations, and Marie Camuse, a leading
figure in Georgia's early silk industry, are among the figures
whose life stories Marsh draws on to illustrate how some frontier
women broke down economic barriers and wielded authority in
Marsh also looks at how basic assumptions about courtship,
marriage, and family varied over time. To early settlers, for
example, the search for stability could take them across race,
class, or community lines in search of a suitable partner. This
would change as emerging elites enforced the regulation of
traditional social norms and as white relationships with blacks and
Native Americans became more exploitive and adversarial. Many of
the qualities that earlier had distinguished Georgia from other
southern colonies faded away.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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