Colonial Manners By: claire mitchell

Did you know that 300 years ago, people had a book of manners that they had to follow? I know I didn't. There were some manners back then that were alright to do alone, but never with friends, though some manners were not even OK in your own company. Some of these colonial manners you might be OK with, some you might not be. But people back then were pressured with the everyday grind, and these awful rules,

Colonial People At A Town Gathering

Like today, just 300 years ago, people were very picky about manners. Some, were alright to do alone but not in public. Some, you couldn't even do in your own company. Most manners you can't do alone, or in public, like the fact that back then, you couldn't cross your feet or your ankles, even when you were alone. It was considered extremely rude and was one of the most important rules in colonial times. The most significant rule there was 300 years ago was the Respect Rule. George Washington, who wrote Transcribed Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior, wrote, "Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present," It means that every thing that you did back then, had to be done with some sign of respect for the ones around you. Some of the rules they followed 300 years ago still exist today, but more or less, we lead completely different lives.

The one other type of rule there was 300 years ago, was the type of rule that was OK to do alone. An example of that is that when you are at a public spectacle, such as a meeting, or a dinner party, do not laugh or talk too loudly. That manner is still existent today, it is just not as important as it was in colonial times. Another manner that was important back then was do not show anything to your friend that he or she will not like. George Washington stated, "Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him," How would you like to be one of the people living back then and having to follow this vast list of manners

Around the world, we mostly have the same manners and rules that we have to follow. But 300 years ago, in colonial times, if you lived in a different colony or had a different job, your manners and rules would be different then that of another job. Say you lived in Colonial New York, and had the job of a Shoemaker. Your manners will be different than a person who lives in Colonial Virginia and was a Cooper. But all in all, the rules are the same for everyone.

A Shoemaker Finishing A Shoe

There were 110 manners in George Washington's book of rules, that people had to weave into their everyday lives. In conclusion, people lived much different lives than we do today. Manners were aggravating for these people, but an important part of their lives.

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