Essay about Women During The Revolutionary War

Essay about Women During The Revolutionary War

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Revolutions act as catalysts for change on a societal level, and the American Revolution was no exception; it offered American women an unprecedented opportunity into male-monopolized fields. Before the revolution, “general cultural assumptions” thought women to be, “weaker in reason; more prone to uncontrolled emotional extremes; and in need, therefore, of practical, moral, and intellectual guidance from men,”. In addition, American society, along with its European counterparts, operated in “separate spheres” where women were limited to only domestic tasks. Women were excluded from societal revolutions taking place during the time, such as the Enlightenment, due to their perceived inferiority. Although women were underrepresented politically after the revolution, a woman’s power in American society grew due to the reliance of women in the Revolutionary War and Republican Motherhood afterwards; said changes birthed the beginning steps necessary for female equality.
The close proximity of the fighting shuffled gender roles so that women were drawn into political discussions and into supporting the war effort, defying the notion that women were inherently less intelligent and capable. Unlike in European conflicts, which were fought by men overseas, far away from the general population, the American Revolution happened in the backyards of the general populus. As a result, every member of society had to make adjustments for survival. When men were out fighting, women were forced to run the household by themselves, and as a result, women began taking on the men’s roles. In Lucy Knox’s letter, she discusses politics of the revolution with her husband Henry. Specifically, she talks about a vote on whether or not people could be jailed...

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... new nation, reflects the growing power and respected women garnered after the revolution.
When looking at social progress in the 18th century, it is important to remember the time period and the context of said changes. When viewed through a contemporary lens, it would be hard to find obvious signs of progress. In fact, an argument can be made that Republican Motherhood was just an evolution of separate spheres, and that the entrance into the political sphere during the war was just spurred by extenuating circumstances. However, the changes brought by women during the Revolutionary War and Republican Motherhood were, in fact, revolutionary, as it was a critical first step for women’s progress. While not obvious as other milestones, like the right to vote for example, the subtle changes in society’s view of women laid the essential foundations for women’s equality.

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