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Mary Beth Norton, Liberty's daughters : the Revolutionary experience of American women, 1750-1800: with a new preface. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), 155


“The decade of turbulence that preceded the revolution touched the lives of colonial women as well as men. Public demonstrations against British policy and its supporters, celebrations of the repeal of hated parliamentary acts, days of fast or thanksgiving proclaimed by colonial governments, and incidents of mob action necessarily impinged upon the consciousness of women who had previously left public affairs entirely to their husbands, fathers, and brothers. Still more important, when American leaders decided to use economic boycotts in their struggle against Great Britain, women's domestic roles took on political significance. The chosen tactics could succeed only if white housewives and their daughters refused to purchase imported goods and simultaneously increased their production of homespun. Even the work assignments of female slaves would have to be changed if the colonial policy was to be fully effective. Thus the attention of male political leaders had to focus on the realm of the household, and the public recognition accorded the female role irreversibly altered its inferior status. Although traditional denigrating attitudes would continue to be voiced as late as the 1790s, the reevaluation of domesticity that began during the revolutionary years would eventually culminate in nineteenth-century culture's glorification of woman's household role.”

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