In 17th century New England, women usually arrived with family members to band together in cooperative religious communities organized for the collective good which included shared economic goals. Almost immediately, their healthier living conditions allowed for reproduction by natural increase.
Intact family units let New England families adapt to their new world more easily. The New England family often planted just enough to sustain themselves within their community, unlike the profit driven Chesapeake family desperately trying to produce as much as possible.
The average colonial man in New England viewed himself as a member of a family group in which he had rights as well as obligations. Usually husbands and wives worked together for the good of their immediate and extended family and for the good of their community. Men spent most of their time working within with an extended family which sought interdependence with their wider community.
In early New England, both men and women believed that individuals and family should be subordinated to the demands of the greater community. A few portraits of seventeenth century New England women and their children survive.