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Women Who Changed American History

Updated on August 20, 2019
L.M. Hosler profile image

Linda enjoys reading, learning and writing about different things. She enjoys sharing her love of writing, history and crafts with others.

Strong American Women

American history is full of important women who have done important things for which they should be honored. The list of women who have contributed to our country is much too long for a single article. I couldn't possibly list all the brave women or their accomplishments but this is a short list of some of America's best and bravest women. These women have changed the world for the better. They have been leaders in areas of medicine, literature, women's rights and other areas. They have all helped change our American way of life for the better.

Pocahontas With King James In England



Pocahontas, as we all know, was a beautiful Indian princess, who lived near the settlers at the Jamestown settlement. She was the daughter of Powhaton, who was the chief of a tribe of native Indians in the eastern part of Virginia. She helped to save the settlers of Jamestown from starving by sharing food and she warned the settlers of an attack on the colony by her people. She is credited with saving the live of Captain John Smith whom she later married. No doubt, Pocahontas would have to be one of the first great American women in American history.

Betsy Ross Sews The First American Flag

Betsy Ross shown with the first American flag
Betsy Ross shown with the first American flag | Source

Betsy Ross The American Flag

Betsy Ross was born as Eliazabeth Griscon, the eighth of seventeen children. As a child, she attended a Quaker school, where she learned the art of sewing. In 1773, she married John Ross, a man outside of her Quaker religion, which caused a split with her family. After being cut off from their families, Betsy and John began a business doing upholstery using Betsy's seamstress skills. When Betsy demonstrated how to cut and sew a five point star to George Washington and her Uncle George Ross, she was given the important task of sewing the first American flag of her new country.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton founder of the American Red Cross
Clara Barton founder of the American Red Cross | Source

Clara Barton

Clara Barton was born on Dec 25, 1821. She became a teacher by the time she was seventeen but later changed her career choice when she moved to Washington D.C. and began work as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, becoming the first woman to receive a clerkship in the federal government. This was only the beginning of the things that Clara Barton would be the first woman to do. When the Civil War broke out, Clara chose to begin dedicating herself to helping soldiers on the front and became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield." Officially, she became the superintendent of Union Nurses in 1864. After the war, Clara became involved in the women's rights movement, helped to organize the first American Red Cross and served as president for twenty-two years. Clara finally retired at the age of 83.

Women Writers

There are many American women writers but two of the most famous are Laura Elizabeth Ingalls and Louisa May Alcott.

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. If those names sound familiar it is because it was Laura Ingalls books that were the base of the long running television series, "Little House On The Prairie" which ran in the 1970s and 1980s Laura's family settled in different locations of the mid west throughout Laura's childhood including the town of Walnut Grove. Laura grew up to become a teacher but later married Almanzo Wilder with whom she had one daughter they named Rose. Laura would tell Rose many of her stories of her childhood, and it was at Rose's urging that Laura wrote the series of books "The Little House Series." Little did Laura know at the time that she was writing a history of the mid west in the 19th century or that her books would become a long running television series. Laura died in Feb 1957 at her home, Rocky Ridge Farm at the age of ninety

Louisa May Alcott Was born in Germantown, Pa. She was the second daughter of Abigail and Amos Bronson Alcott. She was educated as a teacher and began teaching at the age of sixteen at a private school in Boston. When the Civil War began she was one of many brave women who served in hospitals as nurses. She later wrote the book "Little Women" which was a huge success. The book "Little Women" was based on the lives of herself and her three sisters, living in a small New England town as they grew into young women. Louisa May Alcott died in 1888 at the age of fifty-five

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry. Phillis had been brought to the American colonies as a seven or eight year old child and a slave. She was then bought by the Wheatley family as a domestic household slave. and was given the name Phillis Wheatley. However,The Wheatley family treated her as a member of the family rather than a slave. Being as she proved to be very intelligent she was educated with the Wheatly's own children. At the age of twelve her first poem was published in the Newport Mercury. She later published a book of poems called "Poems On Various Subjects. This was an amazing accomplishment for an African American woman at this time in our nation's history.

Margaret Corbin Marker

Margaret Corbin marker
Margaret Corbin marker | Source

A Solider's Wife

Margaret Corbin married a military man but unlike most wives she refused to stay safely at home but followed her young husband into the War Of Independence. She worked to earn her way by helping soldiers with their laundry, cooking and taking care of the sick. Her husband's job on the battlefield was loading the cannon. Margaret followed him to the Battle at Fort Wahington, Nov 16, 1776. The soldier firing the cannon and Margaret's husband were both killed and Margaret took over firing the cannon at the British. It was said that she had an excellent aim.

Margaret was found after the battle was over badly wounded with musket balls. She lost the use of her left arm. In 1779 she was the first woman to receive a pension for military service. Margaret was later buried at West point with full military honors. What a brave woman she must have been to follow her husband onto a battlefield of death.

Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin


Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony and her lifelong friend, Elizabeth Cody Stanton both became known for their lifelong struggle to gain women's equal rights and the right to vote. While Elizabeth was the organizer of many women's suffrage gatherings and wrote many of Susan's speeches, it was Susan who would travel the country giving speeches and rallying women. Susan wrote the Susan B Anthony amendment in 1878, which fourteen years after her death became the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. How courageous these women were in fighting for other women and the rights that women now enjoy.

Our World Has Changed

Our world has changed for the better due to the efforts and sacrifices of these courageous women. Clara Barton brought us the American Red Cross which helps millions of people around the world. Susan B Anthony brought change and better lives for women in America. Margaret Corbin helped to win our country's independence with her bravery. Laura Ingalls and Louisa May Alcott made memorable contributions to the world of literature.

These are but a few of the women who have brought change to our country. There are many others who have stood up and fought for their rights and beliefs. The world is indeed a better place for all of us and these women have earned a special place in the history of America. There will be many more who achieve great things in the future.

Laura Ingalla A Great American Writer

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 L.M. Hosler


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    • L.M. Hosler profile imageAUTHOR

      L.M. Hosler 

      5 years ago

      I ma glad that it inspired you and gave you motivation. I felt that way myself especially after learning about the poet Phillis Wheatley. What hardships she must have endured and still managed to achieve what she did. I also liked the story of Margaret Corbin. Thanks for commenting. Always appreciated.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      These are all stories of service and they really inspire me. The writers especially remind me that we have an opportunity to influence our world long after we leave. I needed this motivation. Thanks!


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