Revolutionary Mothers: the Book About Women During American Revolutionary War

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Table of Contents

  • The Author
  • The Main Ideas
  • My Opinion About the Book
  • The Significance of the Book

The Author

The author, Carol Berkins is qualified to be a trusted source of information because she has three classifications of knowledge ship, the first is the B.A she received from Barnard College, and the last two are the M.A and the Ph.D received from Columbia University. She had also taught at Baruch College from 1972 through 2008. She had taught early American history alongside women’s history. Now she is currently the Baruch Presidential Professor of History at the City University of New York.

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The Main Ideas

In Revolutionary Mothers, Berkin’s argues that the Revolutionary War, was not just a story about men but a story about men and women, and that both men and women within the society had played a huge role in protecting their liberty and freedom. Most of the people had sacrificed everything they have had even their well-being in order to see that the liberty of the society is achieved. Furthermore, the book doesn’t just tell the story of a woman’s history but of many of them, through their eyes, as women who were willingly or unwillingly involved through the war that continuously blurred the lines between the battlefield and homefront. The book explains the transformation of all different types of women during and before the revolution colonial White, Native Americans, and African-Americans, and it even focuses on women of the rich or of the poor; also the women who supported the patriots or those that stayed loyal. She had told the realistic tales and did not romanticize the roles of women in the revolutionary war.

The reason why the author wrote this book was to show us the effect of the revolutionary war in american history and that, the women in that age kept their heads held high and worked to break down barriers to create change for the future. In the book the thesis is most likely when she stated that “Despite the absence of radical changes in gender ideology and gender roles for most women, the Revolution did lend legitimacy to new ideas about women’s capacities and their proper roles”. (Berkin XVII) The author gives subtle stories backing up the thesis throughout the book continuously as women began to act more “Masculine” and began questioning authority and even female political conscience was demonstrated by the shift in legal verbrage as an example ” Thus statues defining treason began to speak of “persons” rather than men, of ‘he and she’ rather than ‘he’ alone”(Berkin 100) another example of the legitimacy to new ideas about women’s capacities and their proper roles is the ” rejection of the traditional notion that women were both morally and mentally inferior to men. ” (Berkin 151) Furthermore ” Women’s participation in the war had given concrete, empirical evidence of their ability to think rationally and make ethical judgments” (Berkin 152) All three of these quotes show that the revolution did in fact lead to legitimacy about women’s capabilities and their proper roles the author had proved their thesis by explaining to us the effect women had unknowingly or knowingly had caused after the war not lighting the gas barrel that was to come feminism, but by setting down the gasoline.

My Opinion About the Book

Revolutionary Mothers is a well written and strongly structured, organized, informative, and referenced book that tells the story of women in the American Revolution, it doesn’t matter what they were or who they were — Loyalist or Patriot, rich or poor, Native American, White, Or African-American. The thesis was easily understandable and nearly every story could be traced back to it. It greatly shows that women had played a major role in founding our nation no matter what race they were or which side they were part of, they have had an impact. The index is greatly detailed, and placed. My favourite part about this book is when women were able to equally experience the same amount of chaos the men had during the American Revolution, two examples of this behavior is “The presence of women in mobs that tarred and feathered vocal supporters of the crown”(Berkin 25) And “A number of females, some say a hundred, some say more, assembled with a cart and trunks, marched down the Warehouse and demanded the keys which he refused to deliver. Upon which one of them seized him by his Neck and tossed him into the cart”(Berkin 32) Both of these are prominent examples of unexpected female behavior at that time parallel to their male counterparts, both situations had managed to amaze men as this time, they were the ones that were spectating.

Although, there were some negatives to this book. First, I believe the book was a little bit too conclusive. There were many parts that either ended abruptly or just ended in the worst way possible, I believe that if the author gave more detail in other stories that didn’t have much to them, the book wouldve been better, an example of this is “Four years later, however, Natanael was dead, and Caty Greene had embarked on a new life as a plantation mistress.” (Berkin 79) I believe that if she gave a more vivid explanation and gave more detail to what happened afterwards this ending would have been at the most, a better ending. I don’t believe that the book had any necessary errors throughout history but there were probably some assumption, but none that i can confirm or testify. Secondly is that the author did not offer a conclusion to the book ‘How did the American Revolution change the situation of women’ seems to be the question she is still trying to answer, only providing a hypothesis and not a very clear objective point. But lastly I do believe that my time invested in this book was worth it, in fact i believe ive learned alot about american history through this book, this book has taught me a lot about women influence through the revolution and the cause women have actually had throughout the war not just by “feeding the soldiers” but as the fierce patriotic women who sacrificed everything they have to save the country they so much desired.

In the end I believe that this book was a great book at changing my perspective on the Revolutionary War, when many people think of the Revolutionary War, they might imagine George Washington gallantly leading his men through winter or Benjamin Franklin convincing France to join the war, But this book has made me think of all the women who have played a brave role in politics, and important roles in economics at the time. The author certainly did a good job at proving their point about how “Despite the absence of radical changes in gender ideology and gender roles for most women, the Revolution did lend legitimacy to new ideas about women’s capacities and their proper roles”. (Berkin XVII) certainly accomplishing their goal, showing me that the revolutionary war had affected the way women’s rights had spiraled on afterwards and how women during the revolutionary war had truly acted upon. I had learned that the revolutionary war is the day that unthoughtful started the women’s rights campaigns that were to come soon after, and one of the most historically entertaining thing i’ve learned is that women were actually very “crazy” compared to their social norms at the time, and that women actually stood up for themselves if the time came to be this accurately is portrayed in “Attempts to separate and recover her dowry property from the rest of her husband’s property… Grace continued to resist her eviction” (Berkins 94).

The Significance of the Book

The historical significance of this book might be affecting women who have read this book to use the women in the book as strong, resourceful heroes who in fact are women who changed american history. This book couldve influenced the many feminist and women right laws and policies to come since 2005 as a example “Nancy Pelosi” the first female speaker of the House, and the overturning of the 1994 Pentagon decision restricting women from combat roles couldve also been a bit influenced from female feminist reading this book. Highschool students should be aware of this book because the importance that women played in the forming of this nation dispite their lack of rights, political, and voting recognition during these times. An example of one of these is ” Formal education was essential to cultivate women’s dormant rationality and morality. This revolution in education was so successful that by the end of the eighteenth century, elite society frowned upon poorly educated young woman.” (Berkin 152) This shows teenagers that society had previously made women’s rational lay dormant and unused because of their social pressures in motherly duties to their husbands and family, and that the revolution in education done by women in the book with little to no influence changed the education system for the way women are today. The book connected with me in a very knowledgeable and logical way, I always thought of women as caretakers during these wars but this book changed my perspective and opinion, I learned that women were able to stand their ground during war and even fight violently for their liberty and rights, I relate to this book because I believe that women and men should be treated equally and that when “A corps of female infantry of 20 rank. Marched westward about one mile in martial array and excellent order carried away the sugar without any opposition from power law or conscience” (Berkin 32). It really widened my expectations for women at the time and made me feel better about society, I was also able to connect with Lucy when she mentioned that her life was “Barren of adventure and replete with repetition” (Berkin 74). This actually hits me at a very sentimental level as I believe that life as I know it, is just a continuous loop of repetition and this In Fact made me feel very remorseful for Lucy knowing that I could only relate a little to her situation knowing what she was going through at the moment.

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