The and itinerant preachers. To add on that

The Republican MotherhoodAccording to Gregory Pepek “Women have always had an influential role in the prosperity and growth of any community. America had three groups of women; the native Indian the African and the European.” The focus of the colonial period is mainly laid on men. However, without the women, the colonies would have failed. In colonial America, women did not have as many rights as they have today but their roles and critical input to the founding of America remains documented. The assumption was that since women could neither vote and in fact showed very little interest in attaining this right they-they were apolitical beings. However the notion has changed over the years, historians realized that women were actively engaged in the debates that would propel the movement towards independence. According to Skemp, men would seek women’s support and effort during the battles; if women were apolitical and neutral to the entire need for an end to colonial rule why would men rely on them for such regulations. The women who made the journey during the colonial period had to be resilient, hardworking and incredibly brave to survive. This means that there was some sort of cooperation that  resulted in independence. The gender roles at the time had become fluid; men and women would construct buildings, tend to house, raise children, in addition women would work as nurse for the wounded soldiers, midwives and itinerant preachers. To add on that some women started lives in colonial America as indentured slaves. This means that they got free passage into the colony by pledging to work for several years in the fields or elsewhere. This paper explores the cultural, political, social and economic roles of women in colonial America by critically analyzing the concept of the republican mother.According to the Republican philosophy, the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the greater good of America proved their patriotism. This means that the demand for rights should be accompanied by the duties and responsibilities. From this context men and women were defined; this is because no one expected a woman to pick a musket and fight for the king or defend any of the American rights and freedoms. Apparently, war defined gender roles; everyone stayed reminded that the battlefield was a male preserve, an arena in which men risked their lives to earn the adulation of absolute countrymen or patriots. However, the concept of the republican mother was borne on these differences. This term refers to the belief that mothers were responsible for raising children to practice the principles of republicanism. The belief was that this would make them good citizens. Republicanism refers to governing as a republic. A republic government has elected rulers instead of aristocratic selection. This concept should however not be confused with a historical background of feminism. Rather this ideology reinforced the idea of domestic women’s sphere separate the public world of men. It was based on women education and a great investment in the traditional sphere with a dignity and importance that had been missing in previous conceptions.The republican mother can be approached in several perspectives. Firstly there is the economic approach. Women in the colonial America were less than idle in the economic sphere during the revolution. They would form an association which allowed them to come up with ideas and projects that uplifted their financial standards in society. The republican mother had the responsibility to feed the children, maintain the house and grow economically while the husband fought in the war. These associations were formed to sew clothes, farm, source and prepare medical supplies for the fighting soldiers. In fact, the women were tasked with sourcing for food and getting it ready to the frontline of the Patriots. The women formed groups that would define their patriotic side of the notion of the republican mother. Through organized fundraisers they would provide the much-needed food, money and most of the supplies. They were the planners, developers, and suppliers of the gathered supplies. One of the most notable of these associations is the Philadelphia ladies association. This group raised a total of 7500 us dollars and donated over 2000 shirts to the countrymen.To uphold the element of citizenship and pass it on to their children, women or a typical housewife was supposed to be resourceful with the budgeting of the family. This is the beginning of America as a manufacturing country.the manufactured goods such as dairy products and textiles originated from the Republican mothers. The man of the house owned everything as it was culturally believed, but the women worked for it.Sometimes the colonial woman would help her husband in agriculture or artisan endeavors. This would be a classroom for the children to gather and learn the ways of farming or artisan works. While women were economically building their families, they were also busy building and molding their children into republicanism as required. It is arguable that when the war began, women had to completely take over the roles of the men in the house. Another approach to the roles of the republican mother is the cultural approach. As it was custom, women had very few rights. In fact among the rights, the majority were prohibitions. For example, women could not vote. The married women could not even write a will, buy or sell the property without the consent of their husbands. Other women had to get into America as indentured slaves. They were required to work for 5 to 7 years to be free. Suppose one got pregnant before the end of this time, they would serve added time after the 5 or 7 years. It was clear that the cultural roles of women were mainly procreation. It was a cultural belief that good housewives, raised good children who would end up as good citizens and uphold the republicanism principles . Women cultural roles included remaining submissive to the husband. As a wife, it was required that one remained faithful obedient and subservient to the husband. This is because legal statutes and societal norms allowed husbands to exert power over their wives. Sometimes the power would result in violence, and few divorces would be filed, but such instances were not in societal norms.Unmarried women had a role to play too. Culturally, they were perceived and expected to stay in their parent’s homes and help them in the daily activities. Some of these activities would include farming and any other household chores. The unmarried women and the widows, however, had a few rights such as they could buy and sell the property, make a will and they could sue or be sued. Women in the colonial period were, therefore, the symbols of unity in the household. They were organizers in their servant ways. They were tasked with all the responsibilities that the man could not do owing this to the gender separation and the notion of masculinity. Women were considered of unambitious, emotional beings who could not bear the stress that the men endured. However, it is critical to note that women endured such appointed subordination for the sake of order in the families. In other words, if women had retaliated and done as they perceived best then the order would be ost, and maybe the revolution would never have been won. In other words, women chose to stay low-key for the sake of republicanism and American patriotism. The third approach to the roles of the Republican mothers is the social perspective. Women made the society. They held the society together through their associations and daily economic activities. In other words, men may have helped to build and find new towns and communities, but it was the role of women to ensure that society continued. One of the most notable roles of the republican mother was organization. Through their association’s women came up with ideas to support the community as a whole. Secondly, the power to educate was bestowed on women. It was a social norm that women functioned as the sources of knowledge and role models in society. Apart from feeding their children women would indulge them in daily activities such as farming and household chores for the girls. The husband would sometimes play a role in training the son, but women took on most of the education roles. This was a critical point of concerns considering that the colonial period required people with a sense of patriotism to win the war. Lastly, social immoralities arose in the colonial period where the notion of adulterers began. Considering that the men and soldiers were far away from home this tendency would grow. However, it was greatly shunned. Women in such roles would be punished if caught. The married women were tasked with ensuring that the behaviors of the newer generations did not tend towards such social immoralities. The last approach is the political perspective. The pre-revolution social norms applauded ambition in men, energy, and originality. In other words, the woman was regarded as inferior way before the revolution. Therefore women were not allowed any rights that gave them a sense of choice or leadership over the men. For this reason, the women were not allowed to vote or own property. Everything in the household was owned by the man for the married women. The windows were also restricted such that they were allowed to sell a property if the proceeds went to cater for the children. However, as much as they were regarded apolitical, women have always been political like any other human. Women assumed political roles when they started forming associations. The 1780 Philadelphia ladies association led by Esther DeBerdt Reed who published a broadside titled The Sentiments of an American Woman, to argue that women were as many citizens as the men. This movement saw over 36 women from Philadelphia sell all their jewelry and ornaments. In fact, they would go door-to-door and ask for money until they raised over 7000 dollars to support the war. This was regarded as unfeminine and shocked many. Other women became spies by using deceit and gender stereotypes. They would pretend that they had no sense of politics or the war. It is clear that women defied gender conventions to do something that would help the war. Similarly, other women completely defied social and cultural norms at the time and joined the continental army in disguise as men. Deborah Sampson was such a woman who enlisted after the Yorktown battle and stayed a “man” for seventeen months. She was to be later on praised by the New York Gazette for her virtue as a patriot. Lastly, women strived to become elites in society through education and gaining respect. After the revolution, many women would energY as worthy the respect and a sense of political importance. Similar to men they had sacrificed for the cause. They had achieved the definition of patriotism where some lost their lives, others raped and beaten for the same cause. In fact, the lines that drew gender roles in the colonial period were becoming blurred due to the notion of the republican mother and her functions in supporting the war, community, and economy.