Form and Content
Weathering the Storm: Women of the American Revolution is a series of histories of the revolutionary war era, each centered in the biography of an individual woman who left evidence of her life and situation through diaries or journals. Author Elizabeth Evans documents the hardships of a wide variety of women who suffered from economic and social discrimination, religious oppression, and physical dangers.
The introductory chapter explains and illustrates the general status of women in revolutionary America. Marriage laws placed women under the control of their husbands legally, financially, politically, and socially with little or no recourse from the courts or society in case of physical or economic maltreatment. The political crisis worsened their lives: Women associated with the patriot cause were specially persecuted by loyalists where the English were in power, and loyalist women were abused by patriots, both male and female. Quakers, who refused to fight on either side, and blacks suffered at the hands of everyone. As hostilities increased, women were constantly in danger of rape by soldiers of both sides. The threat of communicable disease and the dangers of childbirth made death a constant companion. Evans broadly documents these social abuses and hardships before examining individual cases in the ensuing chapters.
Life in the rural mountains is reflected in the diary of Jemima Harrison, who describes her courtship by her...
(The entire section is 417 words.)