Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence: A One-Volume Revised Edition of Elizabeth Ellet's 1848 Landmark Series

Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence: A One-Volume Revised Edition of Elizabeth Ellet's 1848 Landmark Series

Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence: A One-Volume Revised Edition of Elizabeth Ellet's 1848 Landmark Series

Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence: A One-Volume Revised Edition of Elizabeth Ellet's 1848 Landmark Series

Synopsis

This modern, annotated adaptation of the original three-volume edition of Women of the American Revolution by Elizabeth Ellet restores, in a single volume, a unique compilation of the roles played by eighty-four American women in the Revolutionary War. A best-seller in the 1850s, Ellet's work is here carefully edited for today's readers by a distinguished Revolutionary War historian. It contains a new introduction and many explanatory footnotes. A new organization arranges these biographies from north to south by colony, underlining the vast differences in class and culture among the various states.

While not America's earliest female historian, Elizabeth Ellet may easily lay claim to being America's first historian of women. Before publication of her books, readers had come close to losing track of the important role played by women in the War for Independence. Ellet preserved these valuable stories through reliance, whenever possible, on first-person accounts which are still as fresh and compelling today as they were in the nineteenth century. A vivid and comprehensive account which will be of interest to both military historians and scholars of women's history.

Excerpt

Revolutionary women … shared with cheerfulness and gaiety the 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 at
tributed 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 con
siderable 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
.

—Chief Justice John Marshall (1804)

WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS played a part in war. But in the important American Revolution, only a handful of the approximately 800,000 adult females living in what soon became thirteen united states, ever pulled a musket trigger or helped to serve a cannon. Custom frowned on such Amazonian heroics, which is not to say that the female role in this struggle was unimportant to its outcome. It merely underlines how most women went about either unnoticed or unsung. “Yet without some conception of them,” asserts Elizabeth Ellet in the opening paragraphs of her major three-volume work, The Women of the American Revolution, “the Revolution cannot be appreciated.”

At the time, Mrs. Ellet’s voice was a singular one; while she may not have been the first American woman historian, she certainly was the first American historian of women. Even a century and a half ago, when Revolutionary War reminiscences were still green, it was no easy matter for Elizabeth Fries . . .

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