Founding Mothers Essay - Critical Essays

Analysis

If mentioned at all in history textbooks, women’s history is often relegated to a discussion of upper-class white women or stereotypically atypical women. De Pauw’s attempt to describe and differentiate between women’s roles according to ethnicity, political beliefs, and social class in a nonfiction book is a deviation from the typical format of presentation. Women’s history has often been viewed through biographies of women known because of their association with famous men (Abigail Adams, Martha Washington) or white women who broke the feminine boundaries of their era (Mary Hays, Deborah Sampson). The only other ethnic group prominent in juvenile literature consists of those African American women who were involved in the abolitionist movement in the nineteenth century (Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth). Writings about Loyalists, men and women who sided with the British during the revolutionary war, have always been scarce. The inclusion in Founding Mothers of American Indian women, Loyalist women, women from the working class, and women from all walks of life who were Daughters of Liberty presents a more realistic overview of revolutionary America.

When De Pauw discusses well-known women, she expands on common knowledge. Abigail Adams is famous for advising her husband to “remember the ladies” when he was writing the Declaration of Independence, but her advocacy for improved education for women is often overlooked. This was also an interest of Mercy Otis Warren, whose plays mocked the British during the revolutionary war. Martha Washington is usually remembered positively for her support of her...

(The entire section is 670 words.)