Mourning Mothers, Daughters, and Widows: Women's Agency in Post-Civil War England
Seventeenth-century English women faced many challenges following the English Civil Wars. The following research paper discusses women’s agency along with their legal and social status in Post-Civil War English society. Four women’s petitions from the Civil War Petitions database are used to examine the issues faced by a varied group of women after the loss of their husband or male relatives in the war. These four petitions demonstrate that all women––mothers, daughters, and wives alike––were limited by their legal and social dependence on the men in their lives. However, the petitions also reveal that, with the growth of economic opportunities and their narrations of loss, seventeenth-century women were indeed able to exercise their autonomy within the bounds of early modern English gender norms.