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Revolutionary Women

Updated on May 10, 2018

Part 1

Through out 1765-1783, colonist in the thirteen Colonies began a political uproar. We are all somewhat familiar with the causes of this global war; phrases like patriot and the Boston Tea Party. Outraged with having to adhere to British laws that affected the price of goods and the privacy of homes, the colonies rejected the British Monarchy and Aristocracy and in the end; the result of the revolutionary war, the British were overthrown and the United States of America was founded.

Men and women are both responsible for helping the war progress. What we may not be as conditioned to is knowing just how much women helped to shape America today. As the men were going to fight in the war their wives and unmarried women as well were expected to assume the jobs that men usually held. Positions from running businesses to handling the farm were delegated to women throughout the war as the economy and households had to carry on. Women during this time were also known to defend their domestic areas or neighborhoods alongside of supporting their communities through providing food and clothing and at times even found spying for the patriots. (This was done by posing as a cook or maid for the continental army) Women also existed as nurses and in some cases even soldiers. Molly Pitcher, one example of a woman in combat; took control of her husband's gun after he fainted from fatigue.

Women who were tied down to domestic households as housewives or mothers were also able to assist in the revolution through protest. Even after the Boston Tea Party in 1773 were women refusing to buy British goods. Specific organizations founded by women had also helped the colonies raise over $340,000 in 1780. A woman by the name of Esther De Berdt Roed, held the largest women's organization during the time. This group, “ladies of Philadelphia” helped to raise money to provide the troops with clothes. Organizations like this were usually volunteer based and the women who joined these groups only did so to contribute to the war and most often, were married or mainly living at home.

Even the American flag itself was made by a woman. In 1775 Rebecca Flower Young; a flag maker from Philadelphia, was credited with creating “The grand union flag.” This flag had 13 red and white stripes to represent the American colonies and the British union jack which later got replaced by the stars that represent the states. This flag was one of the earliest used being recognized from 1775 until mid 1777. This flag was also called “Continental Colors of 1775.” Although it can be easy to acknowledge any American war contributions solely to men; as it almost seems natural to do so with modern textbooks, we must bring light to the countless revolutionary women, including those not mentioned here, that have involved themselves in the milestones of early American revolution.

© 2017 Christa Canady


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