Abstract

This study examines the economic agency and participation of sixty-five women in Colchester, Fairfax County, Virginia throughout the years of 1760-1761 based on ledgers from a general store where they purchased goods on credit. To expand the view of women of different social standings in the colonial south, this study builds a more complicated picture of eighteenth-century women's scope of economic participation. "Control, Consumption, and Connections" explores how women could acquire credit, how they used that credit to make informed consumer purchases, and how they used the extensive social networks they lived in to earn and consume. By studying their transactions at the store, it becomes clear that women had several avenues for earning credit and that they used those methods, their purchases, and their social networks to provide for their households which some of these women, as widows, maintained on their own. This study contributes to the field of Chesapeake, economic, and gender history. Women's economic agency as consumers, producers, influential members of social networks, and providers for their households complicates the image of the Colonial South that has dominated public and scholarly discourse. Where women were primarily seen as exercising their influence in the domestic sphere and as consumers, here we see them actively using and acquiring credit and involved in different facets of the colonial economy.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2020

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Beiler, Rosalind

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

History

Degree Program

History

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008325; DP0023762

Language

English

Release Date

December 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

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