Women have always played a huge role in our history. In Carol Berkin’s remarkable book,” Revolutionary Mothers” she discusses the ways women have formed historically. Before the American Revolution, the idea of a woman fighting side by side with a man was seen as forsaken. Many Historians only mentioned what men and recognized only how men changed history.
The woman was stereotyped as only being capable of running household errands and bearing children. Patriotic women, enslaved women, loyalist women, and Native American women fought for the liberty to have equality amongst men. In this novel, you will discover many occasions where the woman had shown such honor and bravery by showing courage and opening a new view for this society. The woman had many barriers which included no voting rights, not sharing equal rights as men, starvation, having to raise children in poverty, not having enough food, or clothing for their families. The typical American woman stayed home and ran businesses, agriculture and raised their families while the men fought a war. An occasion of a woman portraying an act of involvement in the Revolutionary era explained as an act of boycotting imported cloth by wearing and creating home-spun goods. The patriotic lady would create their clothing for their families. The woman would spin clothes on a spindle to symbolize their pride as a revolutionary act. They were known as “The Daughters of Liberty”. These women were brought together on the idea of boycotting British taxes by manufacturing their soaps, tea, clothes, and agriculture.
Furthermore, Many women showed their patriotism by forming organizations that gathered and raised money by going door to door to fund supplies for men fighting in wars. Ester Deberet was the founder and creator of the 1st American fundraiser. Meanwhile, other women such as Martha Washington showed their involvement by forming Galas and forming the foundations to fund the army and raising morale on the political views. Martha was from a wealthier part of America; she was sent to encampments during the war and would occasionally visit her husband. Woman in her society was appraised for creating events such as balls and dances. Many women practiced their intelligence by creating roles, showing involvement and finding loopholes to assistance in forming our beloved government.
A few women that were known as spies would purposely escape to get captured, gather liable information about the enemy (The British) and return with information over military plans. An intelligent woman named Lydia Darragh overheard the British army discussing their plans to leave town, giving Washington the ability to form a surprise attack on them. British soldiers did not understand the capabilities the woman had. Her courage and patriotism allowed General Washington and the Continental Army to understand what The British Army’s next attack would occur. On many occasions, the young woman would go to the keyhole and gather any information Women demonstrated and formed a political involvement in American society.
Other groups of women, children and prostitutes would follow these soldiers to be by their families, assisting as much as possible. They would do their laundry, feed the soldiers, and create some type of normality in such a harsh situation. Washington had viewed these women as a disturbance and a burden. The camp followers provided support to these men at war by cooking, washing, sewing, finding supplies, and nursing them through battles/. Not all of the camp followers were patriotic individuals. These relationships involved Indians, enslaved African Americans, prostitutes, and loyalists.
The Native American woman was viewed with respect, nobility, and diversity. Their native men viewed women with the highest respects. Indian Societies practiced matrilineal, which is an origin where the woman passes on their lineage through association. Molly Brant was a loyalist who had a huge impact on the Native American involvement with the Revolution. According to Berkin’s novel, Molly was an Indian who lived within a Native American/White community. She understood the rules and regulations between both the British crowns and how the Indians ran their communities. Molly was known to be a loyalist, she assisted those who were fleeing from their homes by providing food and assistance while these drastically changed would occur. Molly preached and led The Six Nations to keep their alliance with England. The Natives believed that this was the only way they could manage to keep trading and growing within their culture. This Native American had a rough life during the Revolutionary era. Although they faced many barriers, she was still considered a very harmonious person with a huge influential effect on the Native American approach towards the Revolution. The Native knew that that independence would cause a change in territorial barriers.
African American women faced barriers far worse than any community. Bring demeaned, forced to work in harsh conditions, raped and brutality mistreated by plantation owners forced those who had enough courage to find hope for a brighter day. Slaves did not have control on what happened to their bodies, they were involved in the rape and forced into servitude as well as their children, A great example of an African American woman who lived a rough life in this era was Phillis Wheatley. This African American woman was enslaved at a young age. She was kidnapped and brought to America in 1761. She was sold to a wealthy family in Boston and had the opportunity to learn about Christianity and taught many languages. Her masters knew this young lady had a brighter future; her mentality was far more advanced than any other. Her intelligence allowed her to study and become a poet. Wheatly’s involvement in the Revolutionary era was shown through poetry by influencing the community with her published poetry called,” we are all God’s children” Women of all races and societies all had to face oppression in some shape or form. The wives and mothers of many men faced such huge hardships that show how women showed honorable acts to prove that they had status within the community. This book allowed me to have a better understanding of how much of a contribution a woman had during the Revolutionary era. These women and their stories are extraordinary; they faced so many obstacles to simply obtain freedom. Living in this 21st century, I am grateful to start seeing equality between genders, roles, religion, and cultures.
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