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On Revolutionary Mothers - Essay Example

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The goals of women during the American Revolution were vastly different than women of another ethnicity. The different roles women played in the American Revolution revealed the complex position females were in during the onslaught of such turmoil and conflict…
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Essay on Revolutionary Mothers
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"On Revolutionary Mothers"

Download file to see previous pages Many Indian women favored a British victory since they knew a new American nation would usher in: “land speculators and settlers into Indian territories and governments that backed unfavorable treaties with threats of military force.” 1 Enslaved women faced an unstable family life and often faced having their children or husbands sold from them. Both the British and Americans viewed slaves as chess pawns rather than genuinely believing in their freedom. In seizing loyalist camps, black women were sold for profit. Black women who served the rebel camps were treated as slaves, used for manual labor, and they were also sold to rebel armies. 2 Many black women also faced fraud and trickery by so-called emancipators who promised freedom. Black women faced assault and starvation from the confusion and chaos of the revolutionary war. Those who were fortunate enough to escape were still bogged down by discrimination and lack of advancement. Those who were not fortunate enough to escape, or remained behind due to fear of their children being hurt or reprisal from British and American camps, remained in perpetual bondage in the south and parts of the north. Free, black women usually worked as domestic servants and were barred from establishing their own households. In European tradition, a women’s place was in the home, but she retained power and respect in running the home. Through racial and economic oppression, free black women would have no such role in having any measure of power or authority. Such a status was traditionally reserved for white women. 3 For white, American women, their roles took a slight shift from strictly domestic house maidens to working in the fields and helping in the shops of male family members. In times of conflict, especially in the outskirts of far settlements, women protected their families and communities when their husbands were away or to simply contribute in protecting their homes. However, these slight changes in gender roles did not signify a revolutionary idea of female emancipation and it should be noted that the American Revolution was more of a political revolution rather than a social one. However, that did not stop white women from having their own place in the American Revolution. By the eighteenth century, women had comprised a large part of the consumer base in the American colonies. They had the refused to buy any British goods sold by merchants. Women who were fortunate enough to run taverns and shops refused to sell British goods. 4 Out of any group of revolutionary mothers, Indian women had to compromise their values in the name of adapting to colonial society. Within Indian tradition, women worked the farms while men were the hunters. Such a placement of gender roles was a stark contrast to European tradition that defined a woman’s place in the home. Also, Indian society traced lineage through matrilineal descent whereas Europeans favored descent through the father’s line of ancestry. Indian women had strong voices in Indian councils regarding matters of war and everyday affairs in their societies. 5 With the encroachment of European customs came the need for Indian women to change their traditional roles. Many Indians had converted to Christianity and adopted white customs which placed women strictly in the household with no say in the management of society. Not only did Indian women lack a voice in the new American government, but their status in Indian communities greatly diminished as a result of European culture flow. 6 White women ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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