Daughters of Liberty

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The Daughters of Liberty were a successful Colonial American group, established in the year 1765, that consisted of women who displayed their loyalty by participating in boycotts of British goods following the passage of the Townshend Acts. The Daughters of Liberty was a group of 92 women who looked to rebel against British taxes by making home goods instead of buying them from the British.[1] Using their feminine skills of the time, they made homespun cloth[2] and other goods. To call attention to this effort, they would hold spinning contests in the village squares. These contests were called "spinning bees" and were widely attended by females and often males as well. Their name was inspired by the Sons of Liberty, who were established shortly before the Daughters of Liberty. The Daughters of Liberty were very important to the colonists. They helped them make their clothes as well as homemade products when they boycotted British products.

The Daughters of Liberty used their traditional skills to weave and spin yarn and wool into fabric, known as "homespun". They were recognized as patriotic heroines for their success, making America less dependent on British textiles. Proving their commitment to "the cause of liberty and industry" they openly opposed the Tea Act. They experimented to find substitutes for taxed goods such as tea and sugar. Discoveries like boiled basil leaves to make a tea like drink, referred to as Liberty Tea, helped lift spirits as well as allowed for kept traditions without the use of British taxed tea.

They also had a large influence during the war, although not as large an influence as the Sons of Liberty. For example, in the countryside, while Patriots supported the non-importation movements of 1765, and 1769, the Daughters of Liberty continued to support American resistance. They helped end the Stamp Act in 1766. In 1774, the patriot women helped influence a decision made by the Continental Congress to boycott all British goods. In order to support the men on the battlefield, the women made bullets and sewed uniforms. They raised funds for the army and made and circulated protest petitions.

The Daughters of Liberty also used the influence of the Revolutionary War to their advantage. Prior to the Revolutionary War, women were submissive and were almost considered to be slaves to their husbands. Following the war, women in America felt a newfound sense of freedom, not only from British control of the United States but from males within the country. Women began to take part in political discussions within households, and even began to entertain the ideas of separating from their husbands. The war helped to inspire the Daughters of Liberty to also become Revolutionary Women.

Samuel Adams is often quoted as referring to the Daughters of Liberty by saying "With ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble."

Women associated with the Daughters of Liberty[edit]

Sarah Franklin Bache was a Daughter of Liberty, along with Martha Washington, wife of George Washington. They were relevant in the shaping of American history.

Esther de Berdt Reed, a London-born woman who worked to raise money in Philadelphia, went door to door with over three dozen women in support of the Revolutionary War, more specifically to address General George Washington's complaints. She helped to organize a women's group, which used the money to sew linen shirts for the soldiers of the Continental Army. Esther was married to Joseph Reed, one of George Washington's aides-de-camp, and later a delegate to the Continental Congress.

Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man and enlisted as a Continental Army soldier 1782-83, was wounded twice and was later awarded a soldier's pension. She is also known as the leader of the Daughters of Liberty.

Maude Epperson was also among the group of ladies that helped form the Daughters Of Liberty.

Molly Pitcher, generally believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, served on the battlefield during the Battle of Monmouth, helping Revolutionary soldiers who were collapsing from the heat by bringing them water from a nearby spring, today called the "Molly Pitcher Spring". Then, when her husband, William Hays, collapsed either from being wounded or from heat exhaustion, she took his place at a canon. When the battle ended, George Washington rewarded Molly Pitcher by making her a non-commissioned officer, and she became known as "Sergeant Molly". She was also part of a group of women led by Martha Washington, known as camp followers.

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Allison, Robert (2011). The American Revolution a Concise History. New York: Oxford Press. 
  2. ^ "Sons and Daughters of Liberty". U.S. History.org.