Women and The Revolution
The New England colonies were to be a place for people to start over, to get away from the monarchy and religion in Europe. The colonies had gained a reputation for equality and social democracy of sorts. Religious tolerance, freedom of speech and freedom of press were rights that New Englanders hailed as revolutionary. But society limitations were still in place, not for men, but women. Eighteenth century men were known as the patriarchs of the family, heads of the household, large and in charge. They demanded obedience from family members and what the man said was what was going to happen. Women were not allowed to be asset holders, hold professional jobs (i.e. lawyers, teachers, doctors) or have a place in political office. They were to be wives, mothers, and homemakers. At the time of the American Revolution increased attention to political matters made issues of liberty and equality important. Novels during this time portrayed women as victims, but changes in the way women perceived themselves brought about new demands. Women started standing their ground and having a voice, although not big or loud, they were being heard. Women started asking for divorce, getting educated, they ran businesses and farms while the men were away at war, and property owners in New Jersey were even allowed to vote. Women with a voice were Abigail Adams, while her husband John Adams, was away at the Continental Congress, she told him to “…remember the ladies;” another woman was Lucy Knox, General Henry Knox’s wife. Upon his return from his military obligation, she warned him “I hope you will not consider yourself as commander in chief in your own house-but be convinced…that there is such a thing as equal command.” (Robert H. Divine, 2012). This slowly shows that women were not going to allow themselves to be suppressed. During this time women were the main source of education for the children in the home. They were to instruct their son’s to be...
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