Moving far beyond the stories of familiar patriot women, Berkin finds a series of lenses through which to examine the time period. She chooses to show the war through the eyes of patriot and loyalist, rich and poor, American and British, Indian and African American women. In doing so, she allows the reader to see the war not as black and white, good versus evil, but rather as a gray-toned struggle, which affected a kaleidoscope of women and their families. It is clear that Berkin admires the women about whom she writes, for qualities such as physical strength, courage, mental toughness, intelligence, and resourcefulness.
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Moving far beyond the stories of familiar patriot women, Berkin finds a series of lenses through which to examine the time period. She chooses to show the war through the eyes of patriot and loyalist, rich and poor, American and British, Indian and African American women. In doing so, she allows the reader to see the war not as black and white, good versus evil, but rather as a gray-toned struggle, which affected a kaleidoscope of women and their families.
It is clear that Berkin admires the women about whom she writes, for qualities such as physical strength, courage, mental toughness, intelligence, and resourcefulness. However, she leaves the reader wondering why these women, who proved their capabilities over and over during the war, did not rise up and demand equal rights as the Constitution was crafted at the end of the war. The women of the Revolution--with the notable exception of the female Indian tribal leaders-- were mostly tied to the notion that their efforts, while valiant and necessary, were merely in support of the men whose job it was to run the country.
They offered only the faintest attempts to reach out and grasp their rights as equals in the male dominated society of the eighteenth century. Often citing Women of the American Revolution by Elizabeth Ellet, Berkin taps a wealth of material from diaries, letters, newspapers and recollections about familiar, as well as unsung, heroines of the War. Ellet uses the material to support her premise that the women of the Revolution were fulfilling their proper roles as helpmates and nurturers of their husbands.
Berkin, however, uses the source material from Women of the Revolution in such a way as to show that the women were heroic in their own right, not merely in their assigned womanly roles. In addition to the Ellet work, Berkin makes good use of primary source material, quoting from such documents as the Edenton Resolves, directives from the American command, the Philipsburg Proclamation, and The Book of Negroes.
These sources help the reader understand the motives of women and their reasons for supporting either the British or the Americans. The author makes an effort to show cause for the actions of women of all types, both patriots and loyalists, with neither being portrayed as in the right.
The author additionally sheds light on the ambiguity of the War by using letters. These letters show that some women were so distressed by their poverty and difficult times while their patriot husbands were fighting that they begged their husbands to come home.
These letters lay out the fears of women, both loyalist and patriot, and describe the conditions under which they lived. Few of the cited letters from American or British women were sent to men other than their husbands, but Molly Brant, the Mohawk leader, wrote from her position of power and respect to officials such as Daniel Claus, superintendent of Indian Affairs There are no examples of correspondence between African Americans, although other individuals relate the stories of Mumbet, a slave who sued for her freedom in Massachusetts in , and poet Phillis Wheatley.
Quotes from newspapers and broadsides are used extensively. The author has sought out articles which document the lives of women, even though it was not the custom of the time to name or discuss women in newspapers, with the exceptions of runaways, brides and merchant advertisers Unfortunately, several of the newspaper quotations, such as those from the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the New York Journal deal with the cruel treatment of women by soldiers.
The author includes writing by female patriots such as Mercy Otis Warren and poet Hannah Griffits, but she notes that their writing, though popular, was published anonymously. She delineates the several points of view of the war— female patriot activists, patriot women on the home front, women who followed the armies, the wives of generals, the loyalist women who were forced into exile, Indian women, African American freed and slave women, and women who served the armies peripherally as spies and couriers—and devotes a chapter to each of the groups.
Footnotes and bibliography information for each of the chapters are grouped together at the end of the book, followed by an extensive index. The author notes in her acknowledgements that her research associate scavenged for articles and primary documents at the New York Public Library and a variety of local archives.
The huge number of references, sources, and documents makes the book rich and lively. Even when the women are unnamed or unfamiliar, Berkin brings them to life with quotes and anecdotes. However, I regularly use trade books with my upper elementary students in their study of American history.
While I have actively sought out information about women of the Revolutionary War for my students to read, most of the trade books focus on the same few women.
Some of these women are famous mainly for being married to their more famous husbands Martha Washington , others played rather minor roles but have somehow become idealized Betsy Ross , and yet others are really composites who are presented as individual women Molly Pitcher.
Very few of the women written about in trade books were loyalist women, and I believe it is important for children to hear the voice of these women, too. Information about the roles played by African Americans and Indian women is very hard to come by, but fascinating and vital. I am very excited to learn about so many real women who were strong and intelligent, and who will inspire me to dig harder for more information for my students.
I will also be inspired to look for the ghosts of these women in the streets of Boston and the surrounding countryside. I hope that by reading Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for Independence and exploring the byways these women followed I will be able to give my students a well-rounded view of the Revolutionary War.
While Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for Independence is probably out of reach for the reading level of my students, it is a wonderful reference and resource for me. It gives me hundreds of roads to follow and paths to send my students on as they search for the real people who lived in Revolutionary times.
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Cancel anytime. People who bought this also bought The implications of that remarkable convention would be felt around the world - and indeed are still being felt today. McPherson Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins Unabridged 4. Motivated by duty and honor, and often by religious faith, these men wrote frequently of their firm belief in the cause for which they fought: the principles of liberty, freedom, justice, and patriotism.
Essay on Summary Of ' Revolutionary Mothers ' By Carol Berkin
In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict. The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling to maintain a modicum of normalcy as husbands, brothers and fathers died. This incisive and comprehensive history illuminates a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence. Image and summary taken from goodreads. After two months of not reading for my challenge, I was finally back on track — and what a better read than to gain some new heroines of the American Revolution during July?! Perfect pairing, right? When I set out for our library oh, the adventures of this new library system — the stories I can tell already!
`` Revolutionary Mothers `` By Carol Berkin
Berkin takes us into the ordinary moments of extraordinary lives. We see women boycotting British goods in the years before independence, writing propaganda that radicalized their neighbors, raising funds for the army, and helping finance the fledgling government. We see how they managed farms, plantations, and businesses while their men went into battle, and how they served as nurses and cooks in the army camps, risked their lives seeking personal freedom from slavery, and served as spies, saboteurs, and warriors. Here, too, are Abigail Adams, Deborah Franklin, Lucy Knox, and Martha Washington, who lived with the daily knowledge that their husbands would be hanged as traitors if the revolution did not succeed. A recapturing of the experiences of ordinary women who lived in extraordinary times, and a fascinating addition to our understanding of the birth of our nation. From the Hardcover edition. Carol Berkin is one of the top authors of the period, and I really enjoyed this look into the many roles
'Revolutionary Mothers' by Carol Berkin
The book mainly focuses women roles throughout the American Upheaval period. Berkin begins with a brief analysis of the cultural and social norms of women during the American Revolution era. Berkin then examines the way this era helped to change many of those cultural and social norms. She focuses on the way women engaged in diverse activities, which helped the war effort.