Revolutionary Mothers

Topics: American Revolutionary War, Nathanael Greene, Gender role Pages: 3 (784 words) Published: June 29, 2012
Berkin, Carol Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence Knopp, Alfred A.: Random House Pp. 194

In Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence the author, Carol Berken, revisits the Revolutionary War exploring the many diverse roles that the women of all ethnicities, cultures, and classes were called upon to assume during the eight year struggle for independence. Most often when we address the Revolution the focus is on the notable men of the era such as George Washington, Paul Revere, John Adams, and Patrick Henry; or on strategic battles like Valley Forge; or the other famous events such as the Boston Tea Party that resulted from Parliaments’ effort to gain revenue from the colonies through taxes and through trying to control what was imported. Instead, Berkin feels “it is important to tell the story of the revolution and its aftermath with the complexity it deserves” (xi) as well as telling “it as a story of both women and men “(xi).

Before exploring the diverse roles of the women in the era of the Revolution, Birkin, first, establishes the foundation of her theme in the book by discussing what was seen as the proper role of women in colonial society from the households of prosperous families where women were freed from “most production task” (p.7) and started perusing other activities like “beautification of their homes and genteel upbringing of their daughters” (p.7) to the responsibilities of the rural housewife where a “woman’s fertility was as vital as her productivity”(pgs. 6,7) due to the need of many children to work and ensure the survival of small farms. She clarifies the limitations women faced as well as the expectations sought of them as helpmates to their husbands citing works like Eliza Pinckney by Harriott Ravenel and The Well Ordered family, Benjamin Wadsworth.

Burkin, then, explores the diverse roles of women and their significance in the era of the Revolution as...
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