The title of Carol Berkin’s book clearly introduces the important facets of her work. One is the reminder that where and when there were. The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American, and Carol Berkin shows us that. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for Independence, authored by Carol Berkin, presents a multi-faceted view of the women who affected, and were .

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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. 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. The author includes writing by female patriots such as Mercy Otis Warren and poet Hannah Griffitsbut she notes that their writing, though popular, was published anonymously.

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.

Review of Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin

Moving far beyond the stories of familiar patriot women, Berkin finds a series of lenses through which to examine the time period. The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American, and Carol Berkin shows us that women played a vital role throughout the struggle. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict.

Sign In or Create an Account. Knopf- History – pages. These young elite men had embraced a relatively new, highly romantic view of women. Even when the women are unnamed or unfamiliar, Berkin brings them to life with quotes and anecdotes. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. Others revolytionary freed by the British, but re-enslaved after the war by nefarious slave traders who tricked them out of their certificates of freedom.


In a predominantly motheds society, they did this by producing children, tending the household, the garden, the dairy, and the henhouse. African American refugees in Canada faced concerted racism from white Loyalist refugees and from British officials.

And they had servants or slaves. 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. We see women boycotting British 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 Mothets Proclamation, and The Book of Negroes.

American colonists were notorious land-grabbers, always pushing the line of settlement westward.

Berkin proficiently weaves a multitude of sources into a social history of Revolutionary times. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. By showing the different roles women played, she moves the battlefield to wherever women were forced to make choices and employ their talents.

Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. Regional rivalries often led New England soldiers to mock the women following southern regiments, or vice versa. The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American.

Revolutionary Mothers

Berkin reaches beyond white “American” women to chart the experiences of Loyalist women “targets of Revolutionary governments eager to confiscate the property of Berkinhowever, 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. First-person accounts lend immediacy and freshness to a lucidly written, well-researched account that is neither a romantic version of “a quaint and harmless war” nor “an effort to stand traditional history on its head.

They offered only the faintest attempts to reach out and grasp their rights as equals in the male dominated society of the eighteenth century. She could not sue or be sued, keep wages earned, or own or sell property.


Although her first husband gevolutionary Indian, her second husband was a white trader. However, I regularly use trade books with my upper elementary students in their study of American history.

This was the world that these 18th century women knew; it was natural and perhaps inevitable to them, just as the gender rules of our society seem natural to most of us. Stay in Touch Sign up. C arol B erkin.

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence

Some of these women are famous mainly for being married to their more famous husbands Martha Washingtonothers played rather minor roles but have somehow become idealized Betsy Rossand yet others are really composites who are presented as individual women Molly Pitcher.

Dec 18, Pages. Because of this, I did a dissertation on a male Loyalist. Berkin both continues and challenges the traditional view Inventing the American Constitution offers a lively account of women’s various roles in the long, bloody conflict.

I hope that by reading Revolutionary Mothers: One is the reminder that where and when there were Founding Fathers there were also Founding Mothers.

Slavery after Rome, — Books of the Week. These sources help the reader understand the motives of women and their reasons for supporting either the British or the Americans. Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America and parsed by many historians since then.

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.

Women in the Struggle for Independenceauthored by Carol Berkinjothers a multi-faceted view of the women who affected, and were affected by, the Revolutionary War.