Revolutionary mothers carol berkin thesis


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In desperation many black men and women indentured themselves as servants to wealthier white families. There were several riots against blacks who were accused of taking jobs away from white refugees. Within a few years, many African American men and women re-emigrated to Sierra Leone. African Americans who remained in the northern states fared better and many benefitted from emancipation movements in New England and the middle states.

But those who remained in the south, especially the Carolinas and Georgia, probably suffered more than any others, enduring separation from family members; grueling work at rebuilding the plantation economy; and the high casualty rate from both disease in the British military camps where they sought refuge and freedom and starvation on the plantations where many remained during the war. Q: How did the Revolution change the worldview of the women who experienced it?

Revolutionary Mothers: Women In The Struggle For America's Independence” By Carol Berkin

A: This is a very difficult question to answer. We have almost no personal recorded evidence from Indian women or from African Americans. So, when we attempt to answer this question, we have to be honest and say that the worldview we are presenting is that of a privileged minority. Still, the answer is not clear. My own judgment is that most women saw the revolution as an extraordinary moment in their lives, a moment when gender boundaries were temporarily crossed, when circumstances required adaptation and innovation from everyone. Women were proud that they had risen to the occasion, but they did not demand that the gender boundaries be permanently redrawn.

Much of what women reformers and intellectuals like Judith Sargent Murray wanted grew out of the ideological and social shifts that preceded the revolution. They strongly endorsed the Enlightenment view that women were capable of rational thought and therefore moral judgments, a view that had begun to be widely embraced by the colonial elite before the war.

Carol Berkin: Women in the American Revolution

They argued that the patriotic activities of women during the Revolution proved in practice what had once been mere theory: women could make rational choices, form political commitments, act on independently formed moral values. But, they were willing to see this translated into a small readjustment of the traditional female role, an emphasis on mothering rather than on household production.

They called for mothers to play a central role in the moral development of their children, to educate and socialize sons as well as simply train daughters to sew or garden or care for infants. A: Life in the camps was harsh for the average enlisted man and soldiers often took out their frustrations on women of their own class who followed the military. Some of their contempt or wariness sprang from real problems in the crowded camps: unfaithful wives provoked fights among the men, prostitutes stole their boots or weapons, tradeswomen hawked badly made goods or overcharged for liquor or other supplies.

Regional rivalries often led New England soldiers to mock the women following southern regiments, or vice versa. But common soldiers often recorded a grudging respect for camp followers who showed courage and fortitude, who could hold their liquor, keep up with the men on a long march, or remain cool under fire. It was usually the officers who demonstrated genuine contempt for these camp followers. These young elite men had embraced a relatively new, highly romantic view of women.

According to their code of gentility, ladies did not appear in public if pregnant, they did not curse, they did not appear in public without a male escort, they were clean and dainty and chaste and modest. They were ladies rather than simply women. It was impossible for the desperate, destitute women who followed the army in order to avoid abject poverty or starvation to conform to these standards.

Officers were genuinely shocked and repelled by what they saw as travesties of female behavior among the women who provided vital services in the camps. Fighting together for independence did not erase the class boundaries that separated genteel society from their social inferiors.

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Any wives fleeing to England when their husbands joined the Continental army? Q: Schoolchildren are often taught that all Native Americans supported the British during the Revolution, but this is not the case.


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Did Native American women play a role in these decisions? A: Most, but not all, Indian tribes decided that their interests lay with the British in the war.

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American colonists were notorious land-grabbers, always pushing the line of settlement westward. The British promised to honor the rights of Native Americans to their lands. But divisions occurred even within organized political groups like the Iroquois Confederacy. Sometimes, loyalty to a white minister or missionary—as in the case of many Onondagas—led to schisms in the Confederacy. In other cases, women were influential in forging alliances or at least limiting the conflict between American patriots and local tribes.

Although her first husband was Indian, her second husband was a white trader. When I set out for our library oh, the adventures of this new library system — the stories I can tell already! However, only about a third of the book actually deals with women who supported the American Revolution and that research is shallow at best. The women who are discussed are done so briefly, with their contributions, personal history, and impact rarely taking more than three paragraphs.

The second two-thirds of the book deal with loyalist women, wives of Hessian generals, Native American women, and African-American women who happened to be in America at the time of the Revolution. Overall, this book was very poorly put together. I had a writing professor offer me a wonderful piece of advice my sophomore year. He knew I had my major picked out and my courses laid out to graduation, so he counseled me to choose every paper topic I could to support what would eventually be my senior thesis.

His point was that when I reached that point, my thesis would essentially write itself, as I would have already done the research and refined my argument.

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Both the women and men within the society played an enormous role in making certain that they attain their liberty and freedom. Most of the people sacrificed their well-being to see that the liberty of the society is achieved. Berkin focuses on girls of the time; colonial white women, Native Americans, and African-Americans, and focuses on women of each high and low social classes; also as women who supported the patriot and loyalist causes throughout the long period of struggle between England and North American colonies.

Most women were absolute to domestic servitude. Berkin describes ladies involvement in boycotts, protest, and their experiences throughout the war and on the house front. She goes into a whole different level and focuses her views on women of lower social categories, the Native Americans, and African Americans — groups who faced difficult obstacle throughout the Revolution.


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She brings to life the importance of Revolutionary ladies. Berkin gives us true stories introducing us to normal women of all social categories who were concerned and affected by the Revolution War. They almost had no rights, especially if they were married. They were granted fewer opportunities than men. Women were to stay at home take care of the household and family. However, that shortly began to change.

Revolutionary Mothers

Once the stamp act was passed in , it required colonist to pay a tax on every bit of printed-paper they used. As from then, an uprising in problems began to unroll. The women participated in agriculture that ensured that the soldiers remained healthy which the society itself ate very healthily.

The women throughout the time of war were also sent to spy on the enemies In spite of facing the nation, shortages of essential provide, widowhood and the realities of death and destruction that came throughout revolutionary war, women played a brave role in politics and important role in economics. Women were subject to being killed or raped due to the policy-making they and their families command. Women were subject to being killed or raped due to the policy-making them and their families command. It is a well-written and strongly-referenced book that tells the story of women in the American Revolution—all women—Loyalist or Patriot, rich or poor, Native American or White or African-American.

It shows that women played a major role in the founding of our nation, no matter on what side of the conflict they found themselves.

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