What was the role of all colonial women, and how did their daily lives and activities transform during the Revolutionary period?
As illustrated in Carol Berkin’s “Revolutionary Mothers” the struggle for American Independence was not just something just meant for the male gender. Women were willingly and unwillingly forced to join the war in order to strengthen the existing defense as well as companions. However, as the war continued the feminine roles that were meant to be for their male counterparts widened. This made the difference between the home the battle front not only close but blurred. As far as families were concerned it was evident that any member who was concerned would do anything to make sure their loved ones survive even if it meant accompanying them to the battle field.
The role of colonial women
Both loyalist as well as colonialists’ women played vital diverse roles during the war that advanced as the time went. These roles range from companions, caretakers and even soldier fighters. Although the book does not vividly present the exact role of feminine role during the war, it gives a lime light of struggle and women success that contributed to independence.
Brave acts during war were not easy to women as it is stated. Nevertheless several women found their way to do this despite of the consequences that would come later either from the opponents or in the dangerous lines of attack as seen with Grace Galloway, a lady who opposed the attempts made American army to impound her husband’s property. On the same note, women who were played most of the role as house wives like Lydia Darragh went ahead risk her life and visited the Philadelphia occupied by British as well as relay intelligence in order to help Washington be fully armed and aware of the British forces ahead.
Women being surrogate husbands was a tasks meant to protect the family that was left behind by males who had gone to the war. Apart from being just mothers, wives as well as helpmates, the woman were left to head the family just like their husbands would do when present. They performed tasks such as protecting family property, giving advises to older son that was inclusive of the training they gave them on how to approach war, give advises when times came for the to join other to fight for freedom. Moreover, the women who become a family’s breadwinner who goes out to find what her family would eat in cases where their husbands had gone for a long time or in unfortunate events where there they would have been killed during the war.
Participation in the war effort
Women participated in war by involving in the politics, physical show up as well as advisers to give views advice whenever needed. Sarah Bache together with Esther deBerdt Reed is some of the women that involved in advisory politics during the revolution. They coordinated women associations that supported their husbands such as foods clothing. This resulted after the fact that the American troops were reported to lack adequate clothing and suppliers. The political aspects of womendid not just end during war; it continued to reign especially for the women like Judith Murray and Abigail Adams who felt that they were strong in that area.
Impact of patriarchal colonial society
The revolutionary period had a great impact to the women who in one way or another participated in several wars. Many husbands were left dead living their families with no heads. As a result, the mothers were supposed to take over. Having all the duties and responsibilities, they had experiences of taking care of the family even by providing security from the women who were involved in the wars. Secondly, they were in charge of property management of the family as they were sought for the wise council when crisis occurred. A great impact was left during the war as women managed their needs through women’s associations that were meant to encourage and strengthen women politically, emotionally and financially. The simple house roles such as knitting, first aids among others were advanced as women acquired complex knowledge during their time out during war. Family businesses were managed wisely by women who closely followed what their husbands used to. Patriarchic aspect in the society worked effectively to women who were involved then.
Sacrificing of values
Value sacrifice is evidence where women change their normal roles, culture, religion and more in order to fit in a society where they could engage in the war. Women who trailed behind the armies did everything to make sure their husbands survived. Though sometimes under harsh conditions as described by Daniel Granger, women continued to do in what they believed in. He argues that regardless of the cold chill in October, women used to put on short petty coats not forgetting they were barefooted. Women household roles changed to hardships of conveying heavy luggage while still carrying their children during war. According to Berkin, every woman both Native Americans African Americans contributed to the Americans Declaration of Independence. Viewing that most of women were not politically accepted, the once who were left out of the circle were forced to take other roles regardless of how intimidating they would have sounded. It is pointed out that many husbands would not allow their wives to rule the families on their absence, since in one way or another they were viewed as uneducated and lacked required wisdom. Therefore they were forced to accompany them to the war and served as cooks laundresses, sexual partners, nurses as well as escorts where needed.
Some women characters portrayed similar traits in regard to their defense. For example Rebecca Motte who curbed British soldiers from taking his husbands assets in his absence. She asked American troops for defense by setting fire. On the other hand, Molly Brant bravely navigated in between Indian and white culture for the purposes of coaxing the Native Americans to contest on the Britain’s sides and talk on agreements among the Indian nations and two contemplating sides. As long as the women were involved, in the bottom line they were termed to be as helpers as they helped their male counterpart were they could not do on themselves.
The revolutionary mothers have clearly brought the women image towards the revolution. Their voices and brevity shouted their strength. The gender role change and struggle during the war did not only affect the personalities but also the individuals involved were also the cause of the change for the world today. Illustrating Berkin’s argument in the book it is evident that if it were not for the women the American independence would not be attained. As well at one point the British colonies would ne ruling up to date.