During the American Revolution, could women have opinions? Could they serve their country? In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re looking at their role in the late 18th century.
One of the biggest misconceptions about women in the 18th century is they weren’t allowed to speak their minds and have opinions. Our female interpreters strive to prove that wasn’t the case at all. Women could be just as vocal as their male counterparts—some more than others.
I’ve spoken with a few interpreters who enjoy teaching guests about what it was like for women in the 18th century. Women were not just in the kitchen or quietly sitting in a corner with needlepoint while their husbands, brothers, and fathers spoke about politics and the war.
AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies shows Anna Strong as a strong female character who works with the Culper Spy Ring. Alexander Rose’s book, Washington’s Spies, confirms she played a part in gaining our independence from Britain.
One of our many articles on the history of women in the Revolution says while women were not really fighting during the war (there were several women who masqueraded as men in order to serve as soldiers), they were following and staying with the Continental Army. Women earned their own rations and pay by cooking, doing laundry, or even caring for the sick.
Women were preferred to be nurses because that meant there would be one more man on the front lines. Nursing was just as dangerous, as they were exposed to smallpox and other diseases.
One line from the article really stands out for me:
Despite Abigail Adams’s famous plea to “remember the ladies,” many of the contributions of Revolutionary War era women have been forgotten. It is only appropriate now to remember their courage and sacrifice, honoring them as well as the fighting men they supported.
We have several programs geared toward Women’s History Month. Click here to take a look and plan your March trip to the Revolutionary City. Do you have any other interesting facts about women? Share them in the comments.