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Women's Contributions to the American Revolution

Updated on December 20, 2017

Part 1


Revolutionary Women


Throughout 1765-1783, colonist in the 13 American Colonies began a political uproar. With the rise of taxes, the mandatory sheltering of British soldiers, monopolies on tea and extensive government involvement, the colonies soon rejected the British Monarchy and Aristocracy and in the end; it resulted in the revolutionary war. The British were finally overthrown and the United States of America was officially founded.

Men and women are both responsible for helping the war progress and supporting the liberation of Americans today. With my focus on women, as the men were going to fight in the war their wives and many single 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 course of the war. Women during this time were also known to defend their domestic areas, support their communities and even spy for the patriots. (this was done by posing as a cook or maid for the continental army) Examples of women's contribution on the battlefield were most commonly as water carrier's but women also existed as nurses and in some cases even soldiers. Molly Pitcher; a common nickname for those women who helped to fight in the war in cases like Mary Ludwig Hays, an example of a woman in combat; took control of her husband's gun after he fainted from fatigue, reloaded it and fired. Some women even stuck to the battlefields out of loyalty to their husbands. This, making them soldiers.

Women who remained domestic and within households were also able to contribute to the war by protest. Even after the Boston tea party in 1773 were women refusing to buy British goods. And as housewives were a largely targeted consumer, many goods began to disclose their national origins on the labels. 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 wars advance.

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 often called “Continental Colors of 1775.” Although it is easy to acknowledge any war contributions solely to men; we must bring light to the countless revolutionary women that have involved themselves in the milestones of early revolution and helped to shape America's independence as it stands today.


Citations

http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/search/label/Women%20in%20the%20American%20Revolution?m=0 (History of American Women -Women's role in the American Revolution.)

https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/womens-history/essays/legal-status-women-1776%E2%80%931830 ( The legal status of women)

© 2017 Christa Canady

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