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The History About The Revolutionary Mothers History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

In her book, Carols open up by saying she examines a war that continually blurred the lines between battlefield and home front, and views that war through the eyes of the women who found themselves, willingly or unwillingly, at the centre of a long and violent conflict. [1] The story shows how women were viewed in the society by men, children and women themselves. Carol explores contribution of women in the American independence limitless of racial lines, colour and originality. She shows how women underwent transition from housewives to warriors. In pre-Revolutionary period, women had no political voices or contribution in decision making. Consequently, women economically depended on their husband since they had no education. Women gentleness grew with their husbands’ income increment. She says,

“Colonists broadened the definition of helpmate to include a woman’s temporary duties as a deputy or surrogate husband…. The Revolution, however, stretched to its limits this notion of women as helpmate and surrogate husband.” [2] 

American women action started 1765, as a result of the Stamp Act, passed in the England. “The first political act of American women was to say ‘No.”‘ [3] During this time, all American colonialists organized loud protests and boycotts against British made goods. Women responded by refusing to purchase items from Britain. This led to repealing of the act in 1766. Also, in 1766, women refused to by British tea and fabric following expansion of import duties. Women applied their power in purchasing as a weapon to fight British moves. Women were joined under the controversial spinning bees. As tension heightened in1770, Boston Massacre erupted. Subsequently, following tea dumping at Boston harbour and Tea Act of 1773, 51 women organized to “compose and sign an agreement to boycott all British-made goods and products.” [4] The British responded by creating and signing several legislation in bid to recapture Massachusetts. British effort however was never fruitful. In 1774, Continental Congress demanded removal of the Intolerable Acts or boycotts were to continue over the motherland’s goods. According to Berkin,

“Outside the halls of government, the lines drawn between what came to be known as colonial loyalists and colonial patriots had also hardened. Violence erupted as radical men and women tried to pressure their neighbours into supporting colonial resistance.” [5] 

Berkin reveals stories of women who fought back and forth challenging the motherland. She mentioned famous women such as Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. She gives an account of Eliza Wilkinson as a woman who experience brutalities of independence, she quotes,

“The whole world appeared to me as a theatre, where nothing was acted but cruelty, bloodshed, and oppression; where neither age nor sex escaped the horrors of injustice and violence; where lives and property of the innocent and inoffensive were in continual danger, and the lawless power ranged at large.”

Women experience direct brutalities from the invaders. They tortured and captured. Their property was being destroyed. At the same time, they were fighting hard to maintain their houses against inflated food prices. Men were being recruited in the army and women were charged with catering for their children. In contrast, some women participated in invading their opponents. They destroyed their own property and participated in direct confrontation with the invaders. Pennsylvania Mary Fraier and her fellows contributed by giving their troops anything they could collect from food to clothing. Elizabeth Burgin donated food to patriots who were captured, while Sarah Franklin struggle in raising funds for clothing their armies. Women were nurses, washerwomen, cooks, camp wives and seamstresses. Some women traded supplies to their soldiers. At times they were seen as annoyance in the fighting camps but were necessary for solders survival. Berkins notes, “George Washington was especially perplexed and annoyed by the women who sought refuge in his camps…. The women refused to obey Washington’s instructions [6] “Yet as even Washington would have had to admit, most of the women were absolutely necessary, if for no other reason than to cut down on desertions.” [7] 

Women survived horrible moments in the makeshift tents of their husband to ensure they were comfortable and had fighting morale. Women also used this chance to tighten their friendship bonds such as Caty Greens who rode to meet Martha Washington. Indian women were stuck in dilemma; they helped their husband in decision making. They needed their land as well as market for their products. Molly is an example of a woman who held two nations at peace until peacefulness was shuttered by American victory.

“For twenty-two years, Molly and Sir William represented the possibility of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between the two races. While Britain ruled the colonies, Molly Brant’s two worlds, the white and the Indian, seemed to be in harmony. The American Revolution shattered that harmony and effectively ended the power that Molly’s Iroquois kinsmen and women had wielded for almost two centuries.” [8] 


In conclusion, even African American women played their role. Most of the women defied their masters to join the loyalists. However, some such as Dinah and Hannah who worked in Limning plantation followed their masters in fear of their children lives. Revolution did prepare women to their current roles in the society. Men as well as the government came to realize how vital women were in their society. Women not only participated in domestic chores during revolution but were warriors, decision makers, traders, messengers, nurses and builders.

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