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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview
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Lesson 10: Family Life in the Federal Period

Lesson Central Question:

In This Lesson:

How did a family function? How were the roles of women changing?

Lesson Length
Key Ideas

Lesson Length

1 class period (85 minutes)

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Key Content Ideas Taught in this Lesson and Teacher Background

Improved economy, interfacing with the world beyond the Connecticut River Valley, expanded educational opportunities; while republican ideals, spurred on by the Revolutionary War, contributed to the broadening of refinement in Deerfield. Each of these events resulted in significant changes in family life.

Teacher Background Essay: Women's Roles Begin to Change

Student Background Essay: Lifeways, 1770 - 1850

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Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand:

  • Deerfield was a complex community with members taking on a variety of roles and jobs, i.e. servant, craftsman, housewife, clergy, and apprentice.
  • Deerfield families had strong kinship ties with families along the Connecticut River.

Students will be able to:

  • Use information gained from the other times, and describe on a continuum changes in the growth of the Deerfield Community.
  • Articulate the varied and necessary roles typical for the support of a small New England town.

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In Preparation for Teaching

1. Read the Teacher Background Essay: Women's Roles Begin to Change

2. Read the Student Background Essay: Lifeways, 1770 - 1850

Further Background Reading:
Cott, Nancy. The Bonds of Womanhood:Woman's Sphere in New England, 1780-1835. New Haven: Yale UP, 1977.

Garrett, Elizabeth. At Home: The American Family 1750-1870. New York: Abrams, 1990.

Larkin, Jack. The Reshaping of Everyday Life:1790-1840. New York: Harper, 1988.

Nylander, Jane. Our Own Snug Fireside: Images of the New England Home, 1700-1860. New haven: Yale UP, 1993.

Evans, Sara. Born of Liberty: A History of American Women. New York: Free Press, 1989.

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Primary and Secondary Sources:

Unless otherwise noted, all can be found on the American Centuries website.

  1. Diary of Miss Ruth Pease
  2. Life and Age of Women
  3. Modern advertisements from periodicals

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Activity Materials in Context
  • Invite students to read the student essay to gain insight on the period.
  • Read the diary of Miss Ruth Pease. Tell what can be learned about Miss Pease from the comments she makes about her personal goals. How does this behavior reflect a trend in women's responsibilities in society after the Revolutionary War?
  • Review the "Life and Age of Women." Using a collage of advertisements, develop a comparison review of contemporary women in the same age groups. Be prepared to share your results with the class.

Assignment: Compare "Life and Age of Women – Revolutionary War Period" to contemporary society. In a journal entry, compare women from these different periods in history. Think and then write about what accounts for the changes in lifestyle that led to the present one you enjoy.



Diary of Miss Ruth Pease

Life and Age of Women

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Collage and/or written comparison

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