As they joined the Sons of Liberty in meetings and marches, these patriotic women often engaged in physical confrontation with Loyalists. When writing to her husband (after the Revolutionary War began), Abigail Adams tells about the siege of the stingy storeowner Thomas Boylston who was charging exorbitant prices:
Number of Females some say a hundred, some say more assembled with a cart and trucks, marchd down to the Ware House and demanded the keys, which he refused to deliver, upon which one of them seazd him by his Neck and tossd him into the cart. Upon his finding no Quarter he deliverd the keys, when they tipd up the cart and discharged him, then opend the Warehouse, Hoisted out the Coffe themselves, put it into the trucks and drove off.
Today, the story of the Boston Tea Party is well-known: On the cold and damp night of December 16, 1773, about 50 colonial dressed as Indians quietly crept aboard three ships of the East India Company in the Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea overboard. Usually women are not acknowledged as being part of this plot and action. Yet, here, too, they lent their support. Some historians say that the plan was conceived in the house of Sarah Bradlee Fulton. They also believe it was her idea to dress some of the men in Mohawk Indian clothes and face paint, because of the strong image of these natives. When the men were finished with their mission, they returned to Fulton's house. She hid the disguises and scrubbed off their red paint. Fulton is often called the Mother of the Boston Tea Party for her help in implementing this important plan.
Male patriots acknowledged the importance of the actions of the Daughters of Liberty, but they made no effort to share political power with women. No women attended the state congresses or the Continental Congress to consider the next actions to be taken against the British. However, they continued to make their mark and were just as involved with the Revolutionary War, itself, as previous events. As noted below by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1804:
Revolutionary women... shared with cheerfulness and gaiety privations and sufferings to which the situation of their country exposed them. In every stage of this severe trial, they displayed virtues that have not always been attributed to their sex. With a ready acquiescence, with a firmness always cheerful, and a constancy that never lamented all the sacrifices... they yielded up the conveniences furnished by wealth and commerce, consenting to share the produce of their labour. They even gave up without regret a considerable portion of the covering designed for their own families, to supply the wants of a distressed soldiery; and heroically suppressed the involuntary sigh which the departure of their brothers, sons and husbands for camp, rendered from their bosoms.
1. Betsy Errikkila, "Revolutionary Women " Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 6 (1987): 189.
2. Carol Berkin, Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence. (New York: (Alfred a. Knopf, 2005)
3. 1768 Pennsylvania Gazette, cited in Berkin.
Stamp Act." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 21 Sept. 2007 http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9379435.
5. Carol Hymowitz and Michaele Weissman. The History of Women in America. 21 Sept. 2007. http://www.fayettenam.com/history/remember.html
Virginia Spatz. "Out the Window: Female Activism During the Revolution." Cobblestone (1993) 14:
9. Phyllis Lee Levin. Abigail Adams: A Biography. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987) 99
10. Gail Hennessey. "Have a Cup of Tea?" Appleseeds (2005) 8: 21
11. American Revolution. 21 September 2007. http://www.americanrevwar.homestead.com/files/WOMEN.htm
American Revolution. 21 Sept., 2007. http://www.americanrevwar.homestead.com/files/WOMEN.htm
Berkin, Carol.Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's
Independence. New York: Alfred a. Knopf, 2005
Errikkila, Betsy Errikkila, "Revolutionary Women " Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
Hennessey, Gail. "Have a Cup of Tea?" Appleseeds 8 (2005): 21
Hymowitz, Carol Hymowitz, and Michaele Weissman. The History of Women in America. 21 Sept. 2007. http://www.fayettenam.com/history/remember.html
Levin, Phyllis Lee. Abigail Adams: A Biography. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987