September 27, 2014
In the book Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence, author Carol Berkin provides a voice for the women of the American Revolution. Berkin exposes the war through the eyes of patriot and loyalist, American and British, Native American and African-American women. In doing so, the author permits the reader to comprehend the war not as black and white, but rather in shades of grey. Berkin reasons “it is important to tell the story of the revolution and its aftermath with the complexity it deserves” (Berkin, xi). The ultimate goal of the book explains the impact women had on the outcome of the Revolutionary War. In the seventeenth century, women had the task of maintaining the household and the garden, and processing raw materials, such as food and clothing. “In this environment, a woman’s fertility was as vital as her productivity, for children were an essential labor force on small farms throughout the colonies.” (Berkin, 6,7). According to colonial society, women remained helpmates to their husbands. However, in the late eighteenth century gender roles began to change. On October 25, 1774, in Edenton, North Carolina, women across the state gathered to sign the Edenton Ladies Agreement, which boycotted all British goods and products. With large amounts of British goods no longer being imported, women had to come together to learn how to spin thread. Ideologically, these meetings became one of the first political awakenings for women, as Berkin interprets. Women’s roles further changed, on April 19, 1775, as the Battle of Lexington arose. The Battle of Concord closely shadowed the Battle of Lexington, and thus the American Revolution commenced. Americans began fighting for freedom and independence from Great Britain. As the men went of to war, women found themselves in charge of the household finances. “Along with this new set of chores...
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