Women During The Revolutionary Era Essay

Women During The Revolutionary Era Essay

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The Revolutionary War proved to be a monumental time for women and changed the gender roles and the cultural ideologies of America. While men were away, the services of women during the Revolutionary era were needed, “as a provider of essential services for troops, as a civilian source of food and shelter, as a contributor of funds and supplies, as a spy” (Kerber 8). This active role of women during the Revolutionary era eventually led to an ideology called the “Republican motherhood.” The Republican mother “integrated political values into her domestic life… she guaranteed the steady infusion of virtue into the republic” (Kerber 11) The Republican motherhood was centered on the belief that these mothers would uphold the ideals of republicanism and pass on Republican values to their sons and daughters. Abigail Adams is one significant woman who is the considered the perfect example of the Republican Mother because she possesses the traits of a Republican Mother: being literate, politically aware but never outspoken, rational, and independent. Abigail Adams was the wife of the second President John Adams and was one of few women who took more of an assertive role in the Revolutionary era. In order to determine how Abigail Adams represents a Republican Mother, we must analyze her characteristics that embody her to be one. Let’s start by looking at her education background.
One trait Abigail Adams had that relates to Republican motherhood was being literate. Although she did not receive any formal education as a child, Adams learned how to read and write. Adam’s father Reverend William Smith had, “an extensive library, a combination that allowed his daughter Abigail to cut her wisdom teeth on William Shakespeare, Joseph Addison, Joh...

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...he property. These Republican mothers were revolutionary because for the first time, they allowed play a significant political role, though they were forced to play it in the home and within their private spheres. It would be evident in history that Republican motherhood would ultimately pave a way for a greater role for women in the public sphere. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said to the New York Legislature in 1814, “In republican America… we, the daughters of the revolutionary heroes of ’76 demand at your hands the redress of our grievances—a revision of your State constitution—a new code of laws” (Kerber 277-278). It is due to the fact that women were given a greater societal role that empowered them to fight for their rights. Without these revolutionary mothers, America would still be a patriarchal society and women would still be considered the same status as slaves.

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