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Political Women in the American Revolution

Document 7

The following paragraph was part of an obituary for a leader of the Ladies' Association of Philadelphia.

      We hear from Maryland, that the most liberal contributions have been made by the women of that State, for the assistance of the army, -- That some individuals have presented 15 guineas -- that in one of the smallest and most remote counties, have been collected upwards of 60,000 dollars -- that a considerable part of the sums collected has been laid out in the purchase of linen, and a thousand shirts are already made up; no woman of whatever quality neglecting the honour of assisting with her own hands to make them up. The women of this city [Philadelphia] have been employed in like manner, which, when it is related in Europe, will be a signal honour to our cause. Those disposed to lessen [hurt] the reputation of female patriotism might have said that what our women have contributed, must, in the first instance, have come from the pockets of their husbands; but, where their own labour is bestowed, the most delicate fingers being employed in the workmanship, it must be acknowledged an effort of virtue, the praise of which must peculiarly belong to themselves.

-- Excerpt from Esther Reed Obituary, Pennsylvania Gazette, 27 September 1780.

15. In what two ways did women contribute to the American Revolution?

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16. Why was it important to the women to actually make the shirts themselves?

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