Women And Revolution

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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During the American Revolution, the role of women seemed to be limited to domestic chores; however, many colonial females contributed to the American fight for liberty and freedom not only at home but in various others ways as well. The importance of these women was not limited by eighteenth century society's rules which seemed to have men as the head of the household and women in a supporting role. Only men at the time had the right to vote, own land, and hold public office. Married women had few legal rights. Still, "At home, women boycotted British goods, sewed uniforms, and raised funds for the Continental army. On the front lines women spied and nursed the wounded. In Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, they published newspapers, and rallied in the streets. On the frontier, armed with pitchforks and shovels, they helped defend cabins and forts. All over the thirteen colonies, they grieved over fallen brothers fathers, sons, and husbands."

1 Women's roles did lie mostly at home. Colonial women were in charge of feeding the family, making clothing and other household necessities, which included candles and soap, cleaning, and caring for the children. Also, "Women who were left alone were forced by necessity to make decisions that had been left to their husband. As troops occupied many areas many families fled to relatives, adding extra burdens households. In many areas women were forced to quarter troops."2 The boycotts on British goods also increased the demand for women to continue making household products that before could have been cheaply bought such as cloth and tea. Women at home also sewed flags and tore sheets into bandages for the Continental army's use.

Many people would be surprised to know how many colonial women did their part to help their cause outside the...