What impact did the Revolution have on American women?
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Women's cooperation was vital in that they boycotted British goods, and produced the clothing and foodstuffs t home that could not be bought. They looked after farms and businesses while the men were away at war. some women followed their husbands to war as camp followers, cooking and sewing, and looking after the sick. Sometimes they replaced wounded soldiers in the line, like Margaret Corbin for example, who stood in for her husband at the Battle of Fort Washington. Abigail Adams shelterd refugees from the war, and when dysentery struck, her home became a hospital.
Some women had to endure life under an army of occupation, Eliza Pinckney descfibed to a friend her situatiin in South Carolina 'my property pulled to pieces, burnt and destroyed, my money of no value, my children sick and prisoners.' A North Carolina m an recalled his widowed mother being 'tied up and whipped by the Tories, her house burned and property all destroyed.'
Widows ran businesses, like Betsy Ross for example, who had a successful upholstery business with her husband, and continued to run it after her husband was killed in the war for another 50 years.
Some women were prepared to take militant action to protect their own interests when necessary. In the summer of 1777, more than 100 Boston housewives gathered in front of the store of one Thomas Boylston. They were, as one observer reported, 'reputable clean drest Women Some of them with Silk Gownes on' and they were angry about Boylston's extortionate wartime prices. They were prepared to boycott tea, but not to let a merchant gouge them for coffee. abigail Adams wrote her husband that the women 'assembled with a cart and trucks, marched dwin to the Ware House and demanded the keys, which he refused to deliver, upon which one of them seazd him by his Neck and tossed him into the cart.' Boylston gave up the keys, and the women opened the warehouse, took out the coffee they required, and drove away. 'A large concourse of Men stood amazd silent Spectators of the whole transaction' abigail reported gleefully.