Daughters of Liberty
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The Daughters of Liberty signifies the formal Patriot association that was formed in 1765 to protest the Stamp Act and later the Townshend Acts, as well as a general term for women who identified themselves as fighting for liberty during the American Revolution.
The main task of the Daughters of Liberty was to protest the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts through aiding The Sons of Liberty in boycotts and non-importation movements prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The Daughters of Liberty participated in spinning bees, helping to produce homespun cloth for colonists to wear instead of British textiles. Women were also used as the enforcers of these movements because they were the ones responsible for purchasing goods for their households. They saw it as their duty to make sure that fellow Patriots were staying true to their word about boycotting British goods.
The Daughters of Liberty are also well known for their boycott of British tea after the Tea Act was passed, giving the British East India Company a virtual monopoly on colonial tea. They began drinking what was later known as "liberty tea." Leaves from raspberries or black tea were commonly used as tea substitutes so people could still enjoy tea while refusing to buy goods imported through Britain.
The influence of the Daughters of Liberty continued once the Revolutionary War began. Chapters of the Daughters of Liberty throughout the colonies and participated in the war effort by melting down metal for bullets and helping to sew soldiers’ uniforms. There is evidence that men appreciated the efforts of their female counterparts; for example, famed leader of the Sons of Liberty Samuel Adams is reported as saying, “With ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble.”
Women associated with the Daughters of Liberty
Sarah Bradlee Fulton- She is most known for her role in the 1773 Boston Tea Party. She is credited with coming up with the idea that Tea Party participants should wear Mohawk disguises to avoid detection from British Officials. This suggestion earned her the nickname, “Mother of the Tea Party.” She was an active member of the Daughters of Liberty throughout the Revolution, and in later years, she helped to coordinate volunteer nurses to assist with the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Martha Washington, wife of George Washington and first lady of the United States, joined General Washington during long winter encampments where she was instrumental in providing as much as she could for the soldiers.
Esther de Berdt is best known for creating the Patriot organization, The Ladies of Philadelphia in 1778, which was dedicated to raising money for food and clothing for the Continental Army. Even though she was born in London, she became alienated from Britain by the crown’s actions toward the colonies and decided to fully support the Patriot cause. She is also the author of “Sentiments of an American Woman,” an essay that intended to rouse colonial women to join the fight against British tyranny. She was able to use her marriage to Joseph Reed to help her gain more influence and resources.
Deborah Sampson later emerged as a symbol for female involvement in the American Revolutionary War. Rather than supporting the war effort from the outside, she dressed as a man and fought in the war under the name Robert Shurtlieff. She fought in 1781 and her future husband was eventually awarded a pension for her service in the war.
Elizabeth Nichols Dyar Memorial | Daughters of the American Revolution Longitude: 69.69W Latitude: 44.54N
Historical Significance: Elizabeth Nichols Dyar, a Real Daughter, was married to Joseph Dyar, a Patriot. She mixed and applied paint to the men of the Boston Tea Party. She is buried with the bronze tablet, but her Patriot husband is also honored, and he is buried in Malden, MA.
Form Submitted By: Atchison Chapter, Kansas DAR 1/15/2014
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