“Founding Mothers” by Cokie Roberts
In the book “Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation” Cokie Roberts tells the story of the American Revolution and the founding of our nation with the focus on the women involved. They affected the politics of the men, while keeping their business and farms going, bringing up their children, even saving their possessions from the British invaders. The authoress reveals the interesting facts of the lives of such women as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney and many other women who took a great part in the founding of the United States.
Every chapter depicts a different time period, starting with the beginning of the Revolution and ending as Washington friendly passed the Presidency to John Adams. The book carries fascinating facts of the arduous life of the women who lived before us. They weren’t given political equality, but they furthered to the founding of American nation. Founding Mothers” by Cokie Roberts American chronicles of the Revolutionary war are full of the stories of what happened during the period the United States of America declared independence from the British.
These are narratives of the men, but very little is heard about the women who supported these men. They had brains and convictions that rivaled the men of the time. Cokie Roberts decided to find out more about these women and tell their story to the nation. Cokie Roberts and her team investigated hard and found news they didn’t know existed. But still there was so much more they wanted. The book is divided into time periods, starting “Before 1775” and the period until the end of George Washington’s presidency in 1796.
The stories are presented in chronological order and Roberts depicts a persuasive and lifelike portrait of each woman by explaining the historical context. Some heroines display signs of modern feminism, some are content to let the men shine, and another act behind the scene to influence through the men. The authoress gives quotes widely from letters the women sent each other and to their husbands and from essays and plays some women published. This book includes a useful “Who’s Who” list linking the women to their outstanding husbands, brothers and sons as well as addition of recipes from the women’s kitchens.
The book “Founding Mothers: The Woman Who Raised Our Nation” is an inmost and illuminating look at the ardently patriotic and passionate women whose untiring pursuits on behalf of their families and country proved just as critical to the foundation of a new nation as the uprising that established it. While the men were busy at the war or in Congress, these women raised their children, controlled their business and gave the men an opportunity to do what they did.
Studying the personal correspondence and private journals Cokie Roberts discovers striking news of these fascinating women, revealing the everyday trials and prominent triumphs of personalities like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther De Bert Reed, and Martha Washington. It is interesting for the reader to find out that one of the important article writers and opinion makers of the entry into the war was Mercy Otis Warren. Due to help of John Adams, she wrote a poem about the Boston Tea Party which appeared in The Boston Gazette.
This woman and Abigail Adams were intimate friends and wrote letters to each other passing their opinions on politics and recent events. She was one of the most educated women of her time. She was a writer though that was not common back when she lived. Then there was Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who ran a South Carolina plantation of her father, was accountable for the family’s wealth, kept her husband’s business going and brought up two sons who were key members during the Revolution. When Benjamin Franklin was in England and France, his wife Deborah Read Franklin ran his home, business and the post office.
This woman with their daughter also produced soap they had to keep sending with him. She made it possible for Franklin to spend abroad sixteen of the last seventeen years of their married life. Only her death made him come back to America to cope with all those income-producing business that she had managed so well. It was the time when he realized the magnitude of his loss. This book also highlights the difficult choices that Revolutionary War couples made between choosing duty to family and duty to spouse.
Martha Washington accompanied her general husband at the battlefield. Once she told that she is a “prisoner of state” for the pressure put on her as the first First Lady. This woman also took political heat in the press from the president’s opponents, when he was too famous to criticize. The correspondence of Abigail and John Adam describes a lot about both of them. The next woman described is Esther Reed, who with Franklin’s daughter Sarah Bach raised more than three hundred thousand dollars for Washington’s troops at Valley Forge.
She wrote a famous patriotic work titled The Sentiments of an American Woman, recommending the women to wear modest clothing and hairstyles to economize money to further the cause. It worked. The goal of the book is that “a new nation had been fought for, on the field of battle and in the forum of free debate, and it would survive. And its success was in no small part due to the efforts of the women. ” The writer supposes that the women most deserving notice were married women and mothers.
This is irony as one of several single women characterized, Eliza Pinckney, embodied that “her legal rights were considerably greater than those of a married women. ” One more single woman profiled was a widow Margaret Corbin, who after the death of her husband “moved into his battle station and fought bravely, sustaining three gunshot wounds, until the British captured the post. ” Crippled by her wounds, Margaret Corbin received a soldier’s pension. Years after her death, her body was moved to West Point, “making her the only Revolutionary veteran to receive that honor. ”
Cokie Rogers was impressed by the unselfishness, tenacity, fantasy, inventiveness and bravery of these women. To care so furiously for the nation welfare and for the happy feature of the country, the authoress came eventually to these women. “Founding Mothers” is the marvelous supplement to American Revolution biography, which is saturated by the deeds of the Founding Fathers. It adds the important facts to what until now has seemed a strangely distant and extremely masculine mythology.
Roberts, Cokie. (2005). Founding Mothers: Women Who Raised Our Nation. Harper Perennial.
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