Last Updated 09 Apr 2020

Role of Women in the American Revolution

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Role of Women in the American Revolution The role of women played in any given war is quite often severely underestimated. This sentiment especially goes for the American Revolutionary War, where women actually played an absolutely essential role in our victory against the British. Not only where there different types of women who had helped, but there were many different ways each of them helped--particularly as nurses to help save lives and tend to injured soldiers. Without women helping in the war, we would have most certainly lost (National History Education Clearinghouse).

One way that women helped out in the war was that they went directly to the source--by dressing up as men and going to fight in the front lines, women (e. g. Deborah Samson) were able to help America emerge victorious (“People of the Revolution”). Some women fought in a more subtle manner, by keeping house back home and tending to their husband’s businesses while they were at war (Zitek). They boycotted British products by participating in the Homespun Movement, where they wove their own clothing rather than wearing British-imported dresses, which served as a major act of bold defiance.

Other women even acted as spies (e. g. Lydia Darragh in 1777, who eavesdropped on quartered British soldiers and relayed their plans of attack to the American patriots) during the war, helping the patriots win. ("www. revolutionary-war. net"). Different types of women also participated in the Revolutionary War. Patriotic women boycotted against British products, helped care for their husband’s property on the home front, and had even spied on British soldiers ("www. revolutionary-war. net").

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However, loyalist women also played a role in counteracting these efforts. Loyalists as well as patriots acted as spies (e. g. Ann Bates, Miss Jenny) and in general posed as an obstacle for the patriotic women (Buesche). As for Native-Americans, Native-American women supported the British, as they knew that a patriotic win would result in further westward expansion and further destruction of their homes. African-American women were pushed into the workforce as blacks in general were recognized as a powerful labor-intensive force (Zitek).

In addition to all the roles patriotic women played in helping America emerge victorious, one of the biggest methods was nursing. Battle nurses were organized into army ranks, the highest rank having been ‘matron’. Their necessity was so that the ratio for wounded soldiers to nurses was 10:1. Even George Washington himself had found female nurses indispensable--he demanded they be present to help nurse soldiers back to health on and off the battlefield (National History Education Clearinghouse). Overall, women were an integral and vital part of the Revolutionary War.

While few fought on the front lines, others helped in more subtle ways that showed rebellion and helped edge the USA towards long-awaited victory. Men thought women were incapable of understanding the intricacies of war and were proven incorrect time and time again. Whether through spying, healing, or fighting, without women, Britain most certainly would’ve overpowered America in the Revolutionary War. Citations Buesche, John. "Spy in a Petticoat. " Teaching History. National History Organization Clearinghouse, n. d. Web. 24 May 2012. Buesche) National History Education Clearinghouse, Browse tech for teachers. N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 May 2012. . (National History Education Clearinghouse) People of the revolution, P.. "Voices of the American Revolution. " Deborah Sampson. N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 May 2012. . (“People of the Revolution”) "Revolutionary War Spies. " www. revolutionary-war. net. Rose Creek Village, 2010. Web. 24 May 2012. . ("www. revolutionary-war. net") Zitek, C.. "Women in the American Revolution. " . N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 May 2012. . (Zitek)

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