From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, From Ben Franklin to Thomas Jefferson, From John Jay to James Madison, the Founding Fathers of America are well known and celebrated. What about the women who helped shape and form this country? In honor of Mother’s Day here is a list of eight influential women of the Revolutionary Era. The Founding Mothers.
1.) Abigail Adams
Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Adams is one of the most famous women of the Revolutionary Era. She was an advocate for education of both boys and girls in public schools, though she received no formal form of education herself. She was an advisor to her husband John Adams and their correspondence through letters are filled with debates on public issues and the formation of the new government.
2.) Phillis Wheatley
Kidnapped from her home in West Africa, Wheatley was brought to Massachusetts by a slave ship in 1761 at the young age of seven. She was taught how to read and write by the Wheatley family and grew up to be the first published African American poet She was a strong supporter of American Independence and wrote poems in honor of General Washington. In 1776, after sending the future president one of her poems, she was invited to meet Washington in Cambridge.
3.) Deborah Sampson
Sampson fought in the American Revolution under the alias Robert Shurtlieff. She spent her youth in indentured servitude and once of age became a teacher. In the spring of 1781 Sampson dressed herself as a young man and joined the army at West Point, New York. For over two years Sampson’s true identity went unnoticed as she fought bravely for the independence of her country. After she died at the age of 66 in 1827 her husband Benjamin was awarded military spousal pay.
4.) Martha Washington
The first FLOTUS, Washington was born in New Kent Country, Virginia. During the infamous bitter winter in Valley Forge during the war Washington worked tersely for the troops. She visited the starving, frozen soldiers and provided them with food and warm socks and nursed some of the sick and dying men.
5.) Mercy Otis Warren
Author and propagandist, Warren is one of the first American women to write for a public audience. She sympathized with the war and wrote political poems and dramas that satirized Massachusetts’s royal government. In 1805 Warren complied a three-volume history “A History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution”.
6.) Esther Reed
Born in London, Reed moved to Philadelphia where she hosted many political leaders in her home, including General Washington. Reed believed that the government should pay for soldiers’ food and supplies and organized The Ladies Association of Philadelphia to provide aid during the war.
7.) Dolley Madison
Madison served as hostess in the White House for Widower Thomas Jefferson and later for her husband, James Madison. Her tenure as First Lady defined the role of the spouse of the President. She furnished the newly constructed White House and when it burnt down during the War of 1812 she saved the portrait of George Washington.
8.) Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Hamilton’s husband confided in her during the war, writing letter after letter about his experience and political thinking. After the war, and the death of her husband, she helped found orphanages in both New York City and Washington DC. She also helped established the legacy of her husband by collecting his letters and writings from other founders.
Melissa Jones, Social Media Coordinator