Women in early modern Britain and colonial America were not the weak husband- and father-dominated characters of popular myth. Quite the reverse, strong women were the norm. They exercised considerable influence as important agents in the social, economic, religious and cultural life of their societies. This book shows how women on both sides of the Atlantic, while accepting a patriarchal system with all its advantages and disadvantages, contrived to carve out for themselves meaningful lives. Unusually it concentrates not only on the making and meaning of marriage, but also upon the partnership between men and women. It also looks at the varied roles - cultural, religious and educational - that women played both inside and outside marriage during the key period 1500-1760. Women emerge as partners, patrons, matchmakers, investors and network builders.