“The story of the war will never be fully or fairly written if the
Achievements of women in it are untold”
Women of the War, 1867
When we hear the names, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin or George Washington, we can immediately identify these men as noble leaders and celebrated heroes who made extraordinary contributions during the fragile infancy of our country. These men and many others unselfishly risked their lives to fight for a united nation in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. However, do the names Philis Wheatley, Jenny Hodges or Sybil Ludington inspire the same recognition and admiration for their unprecedented sacrifices for the same “cause”? The answer may be “no” and, unfortunately, it would be expected.
History books tend to relegate major credit to “men” for our country’s freedom and independence. There is no disputing that key male figures, like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, led masses of troops into battle and composed monumental doctrine that has changed our history forever. However, we must recognize that these were not one-gender wars and women played an extremely significant role in the war effort.
The impact of women in the Revolutionary War and Civil War have been underrated and consequently, inadequately represented in history textbooks compared to their male counterparts. These women exemplified “patriotic passion”, unwavering in their commitment to win America’s independence and create “one nation under God.”
History tends to applaud the heroics of men in war, but there are few examples that cite the courage women displayed. We need to be vigilant when we remember that women deliberately made the choice to fear for their personal safety and even risk their lives to share the burden of “freedom and justice for all”. These incredible women faced immense and unprecedented adversities resulting in steadfast fortitude and unwavering determination. In my opinion, these are the “unsung heroes” of war and the inspiration for this research paper.
Through the course of this paper and my analysis, I will first compare and briefly discuss the diverse roles of women in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Second, I will focus on the valiant acts of patriotism and heroism selflessly executed by several women and examine the impact of their actions on the war. Finally, I will discuss how each of these wars subsequently altered the ideals and roles of woman forever. Ultimately, it is from these and other post-war modifications that womankind has evolved into the version of today.
The American Revolution and American Civil War significantly affected the lives of women and thereby forcing dramatic changes in their roles during war and following war. Some roles were traditional. For example, women took on the responsibilities of managing the household and in some rural communities, also supervised the farming and plantations while the men fought on the battlefields. These women were...