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Women’s Roles in Colonial America

Many people think that women did not play crucial roles during the struggle for independence in America. Perhaps their inability to vote in the colonial era stirs such thoughts in their minds (Skemp, 2016). Others believe that the women were apolitical because they lacked bravery, physical strength, and many other virtues that a freedom fighter should have. However, historians recognize that women engaged in debates and fights that led to independence.

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The women who played active roles during the struggle expressed their opinions without fear. They were active members of groups that took to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the colonialists (Skemp, 2016). Not only did they strike to demand an end to colonial rule, but they also voiced disapproval against common laws that denied their rights. Other women expressed their feelings and ideas through books and plays (Skemp, 2016). Those who hated protests because they brought chaos to colonial cities employed similar tactics to condemn the protest movements. Therefore, many women were courageous enough to express their loyalty to either the freedom fighters or colonialists.

The women from both groups had few rights during the colonial period. They were not allowed to vote, own property, or divorce their husbands (Skemp, 2016). Such legal obstacles denied them formal venues to express their political views. However, the colonialists’ women had better educational opportunities that gave them the knowledge to influence decisions without demanding political rights (Skemp, 2016). For instance, their knowledge enabled them to publish books, novels, and plays that enlightened their colleagues. The freedom fighters had to demand similar opportunities and gender equality.

In the absence of their husbands, some women shouldered several responsibilities until the end of their independence struggles. They managed businesses, collected money for Continental Army, and provided basic needs for their children (Skemp, 2016). Their efforts enabled the spouses to focus on seeking freedom and self-rule for future generations. Some women chose to accompany their loved ones to battles and attended to the soldier’s needs (Skemp, 2016). Others dressed like men and fought beside them until the enemies admitted defeat. The female freedom fighters supported their male counterparts emotionally and physically.

American women were political beings during the struggle for independence. They voiced their views by participating in protests and writing items that changed the thinking of some readers. Others supported their husbands at homes and battlegrounds until they won the war.


Skemp, S. L. (2016). Women and Politics in the Era of the American Revolution. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, 1–19. Web.

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