The latest episode of our serial 1776: The World Turned Upside Down dropped earlier this month, and before National Women’s History Month wraps up, we wanted to take a moment to highlight how integral women were to the American Revolution. For as long as we have been recording history, women have been ignored, and even erased, in the stories we tell about our past.
Ever heard of Flora MacDonald? She was a Scottish housewife-turned-swashbuckler, a fighter who rallied Loyalist troops at Cross Creek, North Carolina and whose story was featured in our February episode. This month’s episode explores the quality of life for troops on both sides of the American Revolution, focusing mainly on the men. But women were integral in life on the march, too, often following their husbands on the road to battle. They tended to the domestic needs of the military, washing, cooking, repairing uniforms, even assisting with medical treatment.
They didn’t just stay behind the front lines, wither. Women fought on the battlefields, sometimes in the heat of the moment while under fire, and sometimes donning a disguise to enlist and serve their country alongside the men. We’ve gathered some amazing resources from around the web so you can read a bit more about these courageous and patriotic women.
Historian Cokie Roberts highlights some of the women she refers to as “our Founding Mothers…”
“Many women of all stripes and from all backgrounds recognized the value of the American cause and stepped up to serve the cause of the new nation as best they could.”
This Colonial Williamsburg website as a whole is a wealth of information but the education section is a particularly robust resource.
“The Revolution was not a one-gender war, however. Many women contributed to the effort, and it is time their stories are told.”
This History of Massachusetts Blog not only includes a listing of jobs women held, it also features profiles of some of the more prominent women, and quite a few images from the period.
“Some of these roles were traditional while others were unconventional and even scandalous for the time.”
Also part of the History of Massachusetts Blog just above, this feature on the Daughters of Liberty talks about this group of political dissidents formed during the early days of the American Revolution.
“…they organized and participated in boycotts and helped manufacture goods when non-importation agreements caused shortages.”
A great list of profiles for just over two dozen women of the American Revolution. This site hosted at the Sunnyslope Elementary School is a great starting point if you’d like to learn a little bit about a lot of courageous women.
“Everyone’s heard of Paul Revere, George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and Peyton Randolph, but who knows about Molly Pitcher, Penelope Barker, Esther Reed, or Patience Wright? Well, if you haven’t, you’ve come to the right place. Not all of them picked up muskets. Some chose to fight with an arrow or a cannon. Others chose a pen, a needle, a pitchfork, sculpting tools, and an apron. Some of these women fought up close. One contributed from thousands of miles away. But, if it weren’t for these women, we might be singing My country Tis of Thee with its original lyrics. Enter at your own risk – you might learn something.”