Saturday, March 4, 2017

Being British American by M. M.

The lecture of Dr. Joanne Freeman is about the differences between the British and British Americans during the colonial period. Dr. Freeman uses examples from Sir John Hamilton's diary, as well as other documents from the Virginia Historical Society, to describe not just the characteristics of British Americans, but Americans with various backgrounds. Through these documents, she describes how Americans talked, behaved, and thought, before comparing them to the British. She concludes that due to the environment that colonists were put in and the flexibility that the lack of rules provided them, they gradually changed their view of themselves from lower class British citizens, to equals of the British in England.
If I were asked to identify the purpose of this lecture, I would say that it would be to give the listener an understanding of what kind of mindset the colonists had prior to the American Revolution.One theme that was shared among the sources and documents that Dr. Freeman read from, was that the events described were from a man's point of view. A woman's point of view of these events is absent from the lecture despite Dr. Freeman being a woman herself. This leads me to believe that Dr. Freeman wished to have an outsider's point of view of the events that she described in third person.
During my class's discussion of Dr. Freeman's lecture, there was at least one question about everything that she brought up, but one subject that came up repeatedly was the absence a woman's point of view from the colonial period. When you think about it, how women were affected by the environment, how ideas of independence affected them, and what they thought themselves and the British, is still a mystery. We still don't know if their opinions were the same or different from the men's, if we knew, then we could have a clearer picture of what kind of lives the colonists lived.
Some of these questions were answered thanks to my classmates, who were able to look at the lecture from angles that I didn't. We concluded that the lack of activity from women in the stories we were told were linked to their lack of land. Land was one of the most important things to have if you were in America and it's also what allowed people to vote. Due to how much land was already taken by men, and how much their actions were restricted by not having land, there was little point in women doing anything other than finding land or marrying into a family with a lot of land.