The American Revolution was a “home-front” war that had a significant affect many lives of Americans. It brought danger to lives, scarcity, and consisted of lots of blood. Carol Berkin shares with us the multiple roles that women played throughout this struggle.
In “Revolutionary Mothers”, one of the things that Berkin talks about is the different roles that women played during the American Revolution. Some were elite women that were wives of generals; some were Loyalists, Patriots, or just regular ladies like camp followers. She also talks about the diversity in the experiences of the different races such as white, blacks, and Native Americans. The experiences between men and women were also very different throughout the war years. She also talks about how the women were not “passive observers” but instead were “partners” with fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands. Women were in charges of the economics in the house that they had to take care of while their husbands were gone. Some of the women would follow their husband’s units’ instead of staying home. They also did the cleaning and the cooking as camp followers. There were women who also would cover themselves up as men and would go out to fight until someone discovered them or until they were injured. The women of Loyalists had to leave the land they were staying on for safety precautions. It shocked many to see the safety of their property and of their personal lives were no longer secure and that absolutely nothing could help protect them if their husband was a Loyalist. There were multiple families that had to make new homes. Gender amnesia is the overall forgetfulness of the country’s memory of the contributions that women had during the war of independence. Women were engulfed in a war that was not their battle to fight and ultimately had no benefit for them yet still got involved in it and did many things to help out even if it meant taking over the roles of their husbands. Despite all of the things that women did to contribute, they are often forgotten when the war is spoken of. Women had roles that may not seem significant but contributed dearly to the war. Things such as running the family farm while their husbands were away, or observing Native Americans are some of the many contributions women had. This book aims to cure gender amnesia by talking about all the roles that women played during this time period. The book talks about all the contributions that women played to express an understanding to the public about how women had a huge role that needed to be played during the American Revolution. This is intended to show people that it is not always the men that did all the dirty work and that women took over the responsibilities of the men when they were at war to help out.
Women contributed greatly to the support of the men and carrying out their own duties throughout the war. The author took time to go in depth into the roles of the women to show just how important they really were. Women were enlisted in the armies and that is a fact that is forgotten and often taken for granted. Camp followers were the wives and girlfriends of the soldiers that were in the armies. The armies demanded that the women pull their weight and be productive. Some of these women came to be close to their husbands and some came because they had no other option for food or shelter. There is no official count of how many women served in the army but the numbers are in the thousands.