Patriot cause in South Carolina Essay
Patriot cause in South Carolina
From the early stages of the protest against the political and economic limitations of the mother country, the male leadership recognized that women had an important part to play in the resistance. In 1769 Christopher Gadsden, a famous spokesman for the Patriot cause in South Carolina notified husbands of the necessity of persuading “our wives to give us their assistance, without which ’tis impossible to succeed. ” 4As household managers, he and others asserted, women were as necessary to the success of the economic boycotts against Britain as the men.
During this time, men had in numerous communities created groups known as the Sons of Liberty for the purpose of promoting anti-British measures. Not long afterward, women were encouraged to form organizations named the Daughters of Liberty with the same objective in mind. Whereas women did not march in the streets or tar and feather uncooperative British officials, they did effort to stop local merchants from hoarding scarce commodities and to direct what could be sold.
Certainly, they became intensely involved in the boycott process, helping to limit the import of British manufactures and undertaking the production of their own goods. After wearing homespun became a key symbol of the American cause, women in several locales got together for “spinning meetings” where they could enlarge the supply of home-produced materials. Even though these meetings were not always supposed to be self-conscious political demonstrations and in some cases had a religious purpose, a number of them undoubtedly aimed at promoting Patriot spirit and unity.
One newspaper report, stating approval of women joining in the activities against the British, hoped that the ladies may compete with the men in contributing to the preservation and affluence of their country and in the same way share in the honour of it. A more formal method of female political activity than spinning fabric was drawing up appeal protesting British measures and upholding the Patriot cause.
Such petitions started to appear particularly in response to the Tea Act (1773) and the Coercive or “Intolerable” Acts (1774), and illustrated that at least some women were completely aware of the political steps being taken by their men folk. One petition extensively acclaimed for its energetic stance was that signed by 51 women from Edenton, North Carolina, in defence of the nonimportation resolves imposed by the First Continental Congress, late in 1774.
Petitioning by women would carry on all through the American Revolution. Though, most petitions set forth during the war tended to be individual acts, mainly appeals to local governing bodies by women who had been left impoverished by the upheaval. They often contained requests for financial aid or assist in rejoining their family. Hardly ever were such statements the expressions of organized groups, nor could they be termed political.
However other wartime behaviour by women can be seen in the political guise. During the war, women engaged in several kinds of patriotic activity, some of which had apparent political overtones, for instance being spies and messengers, amassing provisions, or assisting military units in the field. So far perhaps the most intensive action of a political nature was that undertaken by a group of local Philadelphia women to raise money for General Washington’s soldiers.
Headed by Esther DeBerdt Reed, the wife of Pennsylvania chief executive Joseph Reed, and Sarah Franklin Bache, the daughter of Benjamin Franklin, the “ladies” of Philadelphia went about the city collecting funds for the cause. Eventually, they amassed 300,000 paper dollars (worth perhaps $30,000). While Mrs. Reed wanted to donate the money directly to the troops in the field, Washington persuaded her that a fair allocation might be difficult to attain. As an alternative, it was decided that the money be used to buy linen, and 2,200 shirts were made and distributed to the men in arms.
The publicity stemming from this incident encouraged women in other locales to commence similar schemes to benefit the army, however none was almost as successful. Fascinatingly, the attempts to validate women’s participation in such quasipolitical projects would be similar to the rationalization for women’s benevolent activities in the post-war era. There was eulogizing for women’s strength of purpose and their enthusiasm to sacrifice. But eventually women were seen as different from men: patriotic contributors, though incompatible for a direct political role.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 May 2017
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